Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Victim blame can have negative impacts on survivors of sexual assault, leading to increased rates of neurological disorders, like PTSD, depression, and anxiety (Orchowski et al., 2013). As such, it is important that psychologists focus on implementing and understanding the effects of interventions that seek to decrease victim blame. This study seeks to explore the effects of a potential intervention aimed at decreasing victim blame by introducing, together with information about an assault, an explicit disclaimer stating that victims are not to blame. I explore the relationship between self-relevance and blame, as well as whether an explicit disclaimer against victim blame can prove effective. Results suggest that increased self-relevance of a victim to the perceiver leads to decreased blame, consistent with the Defensive Attribution Hypothesis (Grubb & Harrower, 2008). However, when self-relevance is low the introduction of a disclaimer significantly reduced victim blame compared to when respondents did not receive this caveat. These findings suggest that introducing a disclaimer against victim blame in situations where relevance to the victim is not high, which is often the case with news articles or crime alerts victims one does not know personally, can be an effective, low-cost strategy to decrease victim blame of survivors of sexual assault.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.