Student Research Projects

The Relationship Between Gender and Domestic Violence Blame and Myth Acceptance

Student Cassandra Knapp, ‘13
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Psychology
Course PSYCH 480: Original Research Project in Psychology


This research examines domestic violence. Most previous research focuses on gender differences or how certain professions place blame for domestic violence. However, the abuser’s gender and how it relates to the question of blame has not been fully explored. This study investigates how gender affects whom (the victim or the abuser) is blamed for the violence. Also, it looks into which situation people believe is more blameworthy: a female abuser and a male victim or a male abuser and female victim. Finally this study analyzes how domestic violence blame relates to domestic violence myth acceptance. Participants received two different vignettes portraying two different domestic violent situations. The first one had a male abuser with a female victim, and the second one had a female abuser with a male victim. Then, participants filled out the Domestic Violence Blame Scale (DVBS) and the Domestic Violence Myth Acceptance Scale (DVMAS) to see whom they blamed and how myth acceptance related to blame. The first hypothesis is that males would blame the victim more and females will blame the abuser more. The results showed that there was a trend, p=.078, with women blaming the victim more than men. Also, overall, participants tended to blame the victim more, with a mean of 5.18. The second hypothesis was that the vignette with a male abuser and female victim would be taken more seriously than a female abuser with a male victim. This hypothesis was supported with a significance level of p=.005 and a mean of 12.16 for condition 1 and a mean of 13.55 for condition 2. In addition, surprising gender differences were found with the vignettes. The final hypothesis was that participants who believed in the domestic violence myths would blame the victim more than the abuser, regardless of race. This hypothesis was also supported with a significance level of p<.001. A gender difference was found with the DVMAS as well.