Counselors' attributions of blame toward female survivors of battering

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lori E. Notestine (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
L. DiAnne Borders

Abstract: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a social problem that affects roughly 5.3 million women in the U.S. each year, accounts for 1,300 deaths, and often results in a number of physical and mental health consequences. Many women seek counseling as a way to find relief from the symptoms of the abuse they have endured. Unfortunately, women often find the available resources to be inadequate or worse, damaging. Misdiagnosis, non-violent re-victimization, and even blame are reactions women have faced from counselors. Gender role attitudes and ambivalent sexism are two factors shown to contribute to attributions of blame toward women who have been battered, but have not been examined among counselors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to test a conceptual framework of attributions, Weiner's (1980) Model of Motivated Behavior, with the goal of identifying the impact of counselors' values and beliefs about gender roles and ambivalent sexism on their attributions toward women who have experienced battering, while addressing the methodological limitations present in previous studies. A sample of 122 counselors from 6 states across the U.S. responded to an electronic survey. The Correlation Matrix indicated that the relationships among study variables did exist in the expected directions. Gender role attitudes and ambivalent sexism accounted for 16% of the variance in attributions of blame, providing evidence that these variables are moderate predictors of blame attributions. Additional analyses suggested that male participants responded in a socially desirable manner to all measures, indicating that levels of blame may have been greater had these participants responded in kind with their actual beliefs. This study highlights the key roles of gender role attitudes and ambivalent sexism in attributions of blame and emphasizes the importance of assessing for social desirability. The findings provide direction for future research and practical implications for counselors and counselor educators.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Ambivalent sexism, Battering, Blame attributions, Counseling, Domestic violence, Gender roles
Intimate partner violence $x Psychological aspects
Counseling $x Psychological aspects
Blaming the victim $x Psychological aspects
Women $x Crimes against

Email this document to