The effects of wife-abuser socio-economic level, type of abuse, and rater gender, on attribution of blame for wife abuse
This study examined how wife abuse is constructed within the non-professional population, with an emphasis on the role of gender, as reflected in men's and women's differing attributions of blame for wife abuse to several possible causes (perpetrator, victim, situation, and societal attitudes). Fictional vignettes featuring married couples were used to vary two other potential influences on allocation of blame: socioeconomic status (SES) and physical vs. emotional abuse type. Four blame attribution scales in the Domestic Violence Blame Scale (DVBS) (Petretic-Jackson, Sandberg, & Jackson, 1994) served as dependent variables, with two levels of SES and abuse type portrayed in four versions of the hypothetical varied wife abuse vignettes. A sample of 240 students and other patrons at a college library were recruited, stratified by gender, and randomly assigned to receive one of the four vignettes to read and rate on the DVBS. The mean age of the subjects was 23.0, with a range of 18 to 65, equally representing both genders. A principal components analysis of the DVBS suggested a 4-factor solution as most interpretable, accounting for 51.6% of the variance, consistent with prior studies. Across all raters, the allocation of blame also followed a pattern similar to prior studies: situational blame received the highest mean rating, followed by perpetrator, societal, and victim blame. A 2 (rater gender) X 2 (SES level) X 2 (abuse type) MANOVA and follow-up univariate ANOVAs revealed significant main effects for rater gender, SES of the marital dyad, and abuse type, and an interaction for SES X abuse type. Female raters attributed less blame to victims across vignettes than male raters did, offering partial support for hypothesized relationships. Additional significant findings included: (1) more perpetrator and victim blame for emotional abuse than for physical abuse by both male and female raters; (2) more blame for affluent victims than for poor victims; and (3) little difference in attribution to rich (vs. poor) perpetrators for physical abuse, but more blame to wealthy perpetrators for emotional abuse. Implications for professionals who deal with wife abuse; strengths and limitations of the current study; and future research directions were discussed. ^
Psychology, Social|Sociology, Criminology and Penology
Hayley Y Golden,
"The effects of wife-abuser socio-economic level, type of abuse, and rater gender, on attribution of blame for wife abuse"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).