The Case of the Guilty Victim: The Effects of Gender of Victim and Gender of Perpetrator on Attributions of Blame and Responsibility

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the effects of gender on attributions of blame, responsibility, and recommended sentencing in a sexualized crime scenario with a 2 (perpetrator gender) by 2 (victim gender) by 2 (participant gender) between-subjects design. There was an interaction of gender of perpetrator and gender of victim such that female victims were held less responsible and their perpetrators were judged more harshly, especially when the perpetrator was male. Male victims were held the most responsible, especially when the perpetrator was male. Individual difference analyses indicated that attitude toward sexual minorities was the best predictor of judgments. Belief in a just world was not predictive of dependent measures. Attributions of blame and perceived defense adequacy were predictors of assigned penalty.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This 90-item aggregated scale had a Chronbach’s alpha coefficient of 0.87 and was based on standardized items.

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Correspondence to B. J. Rye.

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Rye, B.J., Greatrix, S.A. & Enright, C.S. The Case of the Guilty Victim: The Effects of Gender of Victim and Gender of Perpetrator on Attributions of Blame and Responsibility. Sex Roles 54, 639–649 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-9034-y

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Keywords

  • Blame
  • Perpetrator
  • Attribution