Defining and Evaluating Perceptions of Victim Blame in Anti-Gay Hate Crimes.

Published: May 17, 2013

Abstract

Victimology research often hinges on attribution of blame toward victims despite a lack of conceptual agreement on the definition and measure of the construct. Drawing on established blame attribution and intent literature, the present study evaluates psychometric properties of the Perceptions of Victim Blame Scale (PVBS) using mock jury samples in a vignette-based capital murder antigay hate crime context. Factor analyses show support for a three-factor structure with the following perceptions of victim blame subscales: Malice, Recklessness, and Unreliability. All factors displayed expected positive associations with homonegativity and authoritarianism. Likewise, all factors displayed null relations with trait aggression and social desirability. Only the Malice factor predicted sentencing decisions after controlling for crime condition and support for the death penalty. Results are reviewed with respect to blame attribution theory and practical application of a revised PVBS.

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