Attribution information in cases of acquaintance sexual assault cases: Why we fail to blame the perpetrators

King, Maya (2015). Attribution information in cases of acquaintance sexual assault cases: Why we fail to blame the perpetrators Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author King, Maya
Thesis Title Attribution information in cases of acquaintance sexual assault cases: Why we fail to blame the perpetrators
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-10-07
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Blake McKimmie
Total pages 91
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
In Australia, the increase of reports of acquaintance sexual assault has not been met by a proportionate increase in the conviction rates of such cases. As juries of lay people are responsible for convicting perpetrators of such cases, this thesis investigated the factors that influence case relevant perceptions. Distinctiveness was predicted to affect attributions of the perpetrator’s behaviour, such that internal attribution would be higher and external attribution would be lower if the perpetrator had engaged in similar behaviour toward others. Distinctiveness was further expected to affect case relevant perceptions, such that low distinctiveness information would lead to lower victim blame, and higher ratings of perpetrator guilt likelihood, blame and fault. This effect was predicted to be qualified by a distinctiveness by perpetrator gender interaction, such that the effect would be greater for female perpetrators. It was predicted that internal attribution would mediate the relationship between distinctiveness and case relevant perceptions. A total of 274 firstyear psychology students from the University of Queensland read a scenario in which offense type (sexual assault vs. sexual harassment), perpetrator gender (male vs. female) and distinctiveness (high vs. low) were manipulated. They then rated their agreement on measures of case relevant perceptions. As expected, distinctiveness information led to higher ratings of internal attribution; however there was not direct effect of distinctiveness on case relevant perceptions. However, distinctiveness information indirectly affected case relevant perceptions, via internal attribution. Contrary to expectations, there was also no distinctiveness by perpetrator gender interaction on case relevant perceptions. Explanations for the findings and their theoretical and practical implications are discussed, in addition to suggestions for future research.
Keyword Sexual assault
Perpetrators
Acquaintance

 
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Created: Wed, 27 Apr 2016, 13:49:01 EST by Lisa Perry on behalf of School of Psychology