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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17781

Title: Judgments and Perceptions Of Blame: The Impact Of Benevolent Sexism And Rape Type On Attributions Of Responsibility In Sexual Assault
Authors: Kelly, Theresa
Advisor: Stermac, Lana
Department: Adult Education and Counselling Psychology
Keywords: sexual assault
jury decision-making
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2009
Abstract: Observers’ attributions of culpability in sexual assault cases have been studied in the context of psycholegal variables to explain how they come to their conclusions. Most research has revealed that there are differences between stranger and acquaintance rape, where victims of the latter are more likely to be blamed (Allgeier & Allgeier, 1995; Bridges & McGrail, 1989; Littleton, 2001; Mynatt & Allgeier, 1990; Scronce & Corcoran, 1995; Schuller & Klippenstine, 2004; Tetreault & Barnett, 1987). However, the work has been largely limited to examining rape myth acceptance and gender differences of observers. The present study addressed these limitations. The goals of this study were: (1) to examine judgments of perpetrator responsibility, (2) to examine the relationship between benevolent sexism and victim blame in an acquaintance rape, (3) to examine as to how benevolent sexism influences assailant blame, and (4) to examine differences between males and females on a sexism measure in relation to attribution of blame. This research utilized a community sample. Several groups of measures were utilized, including sexual assault vignettes with a questionnaire that assessed perceptions of sexual assault. Also administered were measures that assessed for social desirability, benevolent sexism, the preference for unequal relationships, and demographics. Two studies were conducted. The first one was a pilot study, which gathered qualitative and descriptive data for a measure designed specifically for this research. Participants (n= 20) reported that the measure was simple to read, understand and complete. The second study (200 participants) focused on the goals outlined and obtained reliability and principal components analysis information. Findings from study 2 revealed no significant differences between men and women in attribution of responsibility. However, assailant-victim relationship, and the presence of alcohol were statistically significant for blame. Although men scored higher on benevolent sexism in general, women obtained high scores when assailant-victim relationship and the presence of alcohol in the scenarios were taken into account. Similar to previous research (Abrams, Viki, Masser, & Bohner, 2003; Viki & Abrams, 2002; Viki, Masser, & Abrams, 2004), benevolent sexism was found to act as a moderator. Implications from results from this study were also discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17781
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology - Doctoral theses

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