Toward an Understanding of Self-Defeating Responses Following Victimization

  • Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
  • Carol E. Thomas
Part of the The Plenum Series in Social / Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)


Victims—of crime, violence, abuse, disease, serious accidents, natural disasters—generally experience considerable psychological distress. It is not difficult to comprehend common victim reactions such as disbelief, confusion, fear, anxiety, and hypervigilance. Typically, we recognize that bad things happen, but we never truly believe they will happen to us; when misfortune strikes, we are shocked, confused, and anxious. In addition to these “comprehensible” reactions, victims also often manifest responses, generally patterns of thought, that appear far more incomprehensible to others. The victim appears to be adding insult to injury, to be choosing to suffer even more than appears warranted by the actual victimization.


Traumatic Event Conceptual System Intrusive Thought Rape Victim Core Assumption 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
    • 1
  • Carol E. Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherstUSA

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