Attributions About Perpetrators and Victims of Interpersonal Abuse Results From an Analogue Study

Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Rania K. Shlien-Dellinger, Matthew T. Huss, Vertrie L. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This analogue study (written vignettes and videotapes) examines the influence of victim-perpetrator relationship (spouse or acquaintance), sex of perceiver, and type of abuse (psychological vs. physical) on attributions about victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. College student participants (73 men, 108 women) were randomly assigned to condition. As expected, type of relationship influenced observer perceptions. Specifically, participants rated the victim of marital violence as more psychologically damaged and disturbed by the abuse than the victim of acquaintance violence. Furthermore, interaction effects showed that men, more than women, rated the actions of the married perpetrator as more of a victim's rights violation than the actions of the acquaintance perpetrator. Second, type of abuse was shown to influence perceptions of the perpetrator but not the victim. Sex-of-perceiver effects were also obtained. Women held the perpetrator more responsible and assigned less blame to the victim than did men. Legal and clinical implications are then discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-498
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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