Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis



Reader 1

Stacey Wood

Reader 2

Alan Hartley

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© 2014 Catherine M. Arenella


This study examined whether participants’ attributions of blame and responsibility toward a victim of domestic violence were influenced by whether or not the victim left her abuser. It also looked at whether or not educational information regarding the difficulties of leaving a violent partner would affect these attributions. Participants, all adults from the United States, either read a vignette in which a woman victim of domestic violence stayed with her abusive husband, or left him. Prior to reading the vignette, some participants were given information about the problems associated with leaving a violent partner, and some were not. All participants completed a scale measuring victim blame. No main effects of whether the victim left or whether the participant received information were found on attributions of blame, and there was not a statistically significant interaction between the victim leaving and presence of information. An interaction between whether or not the participant was a victim of domestic violence and the presence of information was found on victim blame, but further research should examine this more closely with a study specifically designed to investigate victims and their perceptions.

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