Master of Science
Saklofske, Donald H.
Gender asymmetry in intimate partner violence (IPV) is a well-supported phenomenon in research and clinical work. However few studies examine the influence of gender and perceived injury on blame attribution in third-party observers. Partner violence resulting in physical injury is thought to be more serious, and therefore, men are blamed more than women for perpetrating the same offence, as they are often perceived to be stronger and more capable of inflicting injury. The current vignette study used a 2x2x3 mixed-model design in order to examine the influence of perpetrator and observer gender, and weapon presence on observer blame. Participants were randomly assigned the male or female perpetrator condition. They were then given vignettes depicting an IPV scenario, which included either no weapon, a bottle, or a gun. A split-plot analysis of variance produced a significant main effect of perpetrator gender and an interaction effect of perpetrator gender and weapon presence. Strengths and limitations of the study are examined along with possible avenues for future exploration. The work done in the present study is important as it contributes to the understanding of community attitudes toward IPV, which in turn drive policy work and education ensuring that social perceptions are in line with clinical realities.
Summary for Lay Audience
The gender divide in intimate partner violence (IPV) is a well-supported phenomenon in research and clinical work. However, there is less information about how observers of such violence are influenced by perpetrator gender, observer gender, and anticipated injury when placing blame on an IPV perpetrator. This study randomly assigned participants into two categories, male or female perpetrator. In each category, the participant (observer) was given 3 hypothetical scenarios, each included either no weapon, a gun, or a glass bottle. Perpetrator blame was assigned based off of several questions presented after each vignette. The results of the data analysis indicated that male perpetrators were blamed more than female perpetrators. Also, blame in the weapon scenarios were different based on whether the perpetrator was a man or woman. Finally, strengths and limitations of the study were examined along with possible avenues for future work. Intimate partner violence research involving community attitudes is important, it drives rules and laws surrounding violence prevention, as well as educates the public on the realities of IPV.
D'Costa, Malvika, "Perpetrator Blame Attribution in Heterosexual Intimate Partner Violence: The Role of Gender and Perceived Injury" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7791.