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Harm avoidance or blame avoidance? The effect of priming on reactions to single and repeat robbery victims

Kirschbaum, David L (2005) Harm avoidance or blame avoidance? The effect of priming on reactions to single and repeat robbery victims. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Victims often do not receive the social support they need or expect from their peers. Explanations have focused on the just world hypothesis and defensive attribution, which involve two distinct motivational goals: harm avoidance and blame avoidance. It has been argued that similarity between victim and supporter is what determines which goal the supporter will adopt, but there may be other cues that can activate these motivational goals. The current study made use of mindset priming as a mechanism to increase the accessibility of these goals. Participants (N = 217) were either primed with harm avoidance, blame avoidance, or neutral priming and read vignettes describing a robbery victim who was either robbed once or twice, and either took preventative actions or did not. Results suggested that priming of motivational goals had only marginal effects on participants' attributions, evaluations, and supportive intentions towards the victim. The data provided evidence of a defensive attribution effect, such that victims who took preventative actions were perceived as more similar, and blamed less than victims who took no actions. In addition, repeat victims were blamed more than single victims only when they were dissimilar.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kirschbaum, David Ldak20@pitt.eduDAK20
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGreenberg, Martin Sgreenber@pitt.eduGREENBER
Committee MemberMoreland, Richard Lcslewis@pitt.eduCSLEWIS
Committee MemberKlein, William M. Pwmklein@pitt.eduWMKLEIN
Date: 18 October 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 9 June 2005
Approval Date: 18 October 2005
Submission Date: 20 July 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: defensive attribution; just world; social support; victimization
Other ID:, etd-07202005-152152
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:52
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:46


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