Date of Award

Fall 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Dianne Carmody

Committee Member

Garland White

Committee Member

Xiushi Yang

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 M43 2013


This study examines rape myths and the attribution of blame in instances of rape. This research builds upon previous studies that examined attribution of blame based the effects of gender, attitudes toward rape victims, and race. This study explores the impact of the seriousness of the attack on attributions of blame. It also examines the influence of the level of similarity between the respondent and the victim on attributions of blame. Data was obtained from 408 undergraduate respondents enrolled at a university. Respondents completed an online survey that included the Attitudes Towards Rape Victims Scale and a vignette of a hypothetical rape scenario, with questions following the vignette. This study found that respondents who scored higher on the Attitudes Towards Rape Victims Scale attributed more blame to a victim of rape. Respondent gender was a significant predictor of victim blame at the bivariate level, but not within the multivariate analysis. Whether or not the victim in the vignette had to go to the hospital as a result of the attack, the racial similarity of respondents to the victims, and the social class of the respondents did not significantly influence the attributions of blame. These findings are not consistent with prior research. A discussion of the findings and suggestions for future research are provided.


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