Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Anne P. DePrince, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Daniel McIntosh

Third Advisor

George Potts

Fourth Advisor

Stephen Shirk

Fifth Advisor

Maria Riva


Just world beliefs, Trauma, Victim blame, Victim perceptions


Victim blame can have detrimental effects on victims' coping with traumatic events. The current study examined contextual (i.e., victim-observer ingroup membership and safety of the environment) and individual difference (i.e., world beliefs, trauma exposure, and cognitive semantic associations) factors in relation to victim blame. Ingroup membership predicted greater character praise in females, while outgroup membership predicted greater praise in males. Victim praise was also greater when the environment was safe versus dangerous. Stronger beliefs about the manageability of the world marginally predicted greater victim blame, while stronger benevolent world beliefs predicted less victim blame and less character derogation. Further, the number of traumatic event types reported by participants was positively related to character praise and negatively related to derogation. Histories of exposure to traumas high in betrayal predicted greater character derogation. Using an implicit semantic priming task to examine the automatic semantic associations between victim and derogation concepts, victim-to-derogation priming was related to less victim blame.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Melody Dawn Combs


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

54 p.


Experimental psychology, Social psychology, Cognitive psychology