Attributions in a Hypothetical Child Sexual Abuse Case: Roles of Abuse Type, Family Response and Respondent Gender

Journal of Family Violence (Impact Factor: 1.17). 09/2007; 22(8):733-745. DOI: 10.1007/s10896-007-9121-z


The present study examines the impact abuse type, family response, and respondent gender have on attributions of blame in
a hypothetical child sexual abuse (CSA) case. Three hundred and ninety three respondents read a hypothetical CSA scenario
describing the sexual assault of a 14year old girl by a 25-year-old man and completed 14 attribution items. Overall, the
assault was deemed more serious, the perpetrator more culpable, and the family less culpable when CSA involved (vaginal) penetration.
Contrary to expectations, respondents were more negative towards a family who denied the abuse took place versus one which
blamed or supported the victim. Finally, male respondents deemed the abuse to be less serious, were more negative towards
the victim and their families, and more positive towards perpetrators than were female respondents. The role these factors
play in CSA attributions, together with ideas for future research, are discussed.

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    • "In accordance with the method usually used in previous studies investigating blame perception in sexual abuse cases ( Graham et al . , 2007 ; Rogers & Davies , 2007 ) , each scenario was followed by questions about the perpetrator ' s and victim ' s culpability and responsibility ( 2 x 2 items ) and the victim ' s credibility ( 1 item ) . The order of the questions concerning culpability and responsibility was randomized : half of the respondents answered questions about th"
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    ABSTRACT: According to the gender stereotypes attributed to men, and research on adult male victims, boys subjected to sexual abuse are expected to be better able to defend themselves than girls, and are thought to be more likely to adopt a proactive attitude in the victim–perpetrator relationship. They are consequently regarded as more blameworthy than female victims. In the present study, 384 French respondents read through a sexual abuse scenario in which the child victim's gender, perpetrator's gender and victim's age (7 vs. 12 years old) were manipulated. As expected, male respondents blamed the victim more than female respondents did, especially when the victim was a boy. Furthermore, male respondents blamed the perpetrator less than female respondents did, especially when the perpetrator was a woman and the victim a boy. However, these effects were observed for victims of both 7 and 12 years old while it was expected only for the 12-year-old victims. Finally, as expected, respondents who expressed a high need for closure perceived the victim as less credible and more guilty than respondents who expressed a low need for closure, particularly when the victim was 12 years old. This cognitive characteristic thus appears to moderate the expression of stereotypical representations.
    Psychology Crime and Law 01/2012; DOI:10.1080/1068316X.2012.700310 · 0.69 Impact Factor
    • "Male respondents attributed more blame and culpability to victims (Rogers & Davies, 2007; Rogers et al., 2007; Rubin & Thelen, 1996). Male respondents were more likely to see the victim as responsible for the abuse (Back & Lips, 1998), were more likely to express the idea that the victim encouraged the event of abuse (Back & Lips, 1998; Rubin & Thelen, 1996), and saw the abuse as less serious and less severe (Broussard et al., 1991; Graham et al., 2007; Rogers & Davies, 2007). Female respondents have rated victims, especially young victims, as more credible in their accounts of the abuse (Rogers & Davies, 2007; Rogers et al., 2007; Wiley & Bottoms, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Child sexual abuse changes the lives of countless children. Child sexual abuse victims experience short and long term negative outcomes that affect their daily functioning. In this study, undergraduate students' perceptions of CSA were obtained using vignettes with an adult or child perpetrator and a general questionnaire. Results indicated participants receiving the child-on-child vignette were less likely to rate the vignette as abuse, saw the abuse as less severe, and assigned less blame to the perpetrator than participants reading the adult-on-child vignette. On a general questionnaire, male participants saw child-on-child abuse as less severe and more encouraged by society than did female participants. The information can be utilized by professionals in treatment planning and preventing revictimization at disclosure.
    Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 07/2011; 20(4):396-412. DOI:10.1080/10538712.2011.593255 · 0.75 Impact Factor
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    • "An explanation for this finding may be that women are victimized by sexual assault more often than men and, therefore, may relate more with this type of victimization (Shaver, 1970). Similar to research on blaming attitudes toward adult sexual assault victims, many researchers have found that men are also more likely than women to blame both male and female victims of child sexual abuse, child molestation, or incest (Back & Lips, 1998; Davies & Rogers, 2009; Graham, Rogers, & Davies, 2007; Jackson & Ferguson, 1983; Rogers & Davies, 2007; Rubin & Thelen, 1996; Waterman & Foss-Goodman, 1984). "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examines the impact of a victimology course on students' perceptions of the blameworthiness of crime victims and knowledge of victimization issues. Victim-blaming attitudes among college students enrolled in a victimology course were compared with students enrolled in other courses. Results from a pretest and posttest suggest that the victimology students were significantly less likely to blame victims and these students also gained significantly more knowledge over time compared with the students who did not enroll in the course. Results from the multivariate analysis indicate that less knowledge over time and a higher propensity to blame victims at the beginning of the semester predicted more victim-blaming attitudes on the posttest. Overall, the findings suggest that knowledge of victimology significantly affects students' propensity to blame victims of crime.
    Journal of Interpersonal Violence 05/2011; 26(17):3407-27. DOI:10.1177/0886260511403752 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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