Term of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Dorthie Cross

Committee Member 1

Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 2

Jeffrey Klibert


Previous research examined the effects of victim gender, perpetrator gender, and rape myth acceptance on victim blaming attribution; however, fewer studies explore victim and perpetrator gender at the same time, and even fewer studies examined the relevance of factors like timing of reporting (immediate or delayed) or rurality. The primary purpose of the study, therefore, was to explore the effect of victim gender, perpetrator gender, and report timing (same day vs. six months later) on victim blaming attributions. The study also examined the role of rape myth acceptance on victim blame and compared levels of rape myth acceptance across participant rurality. The current study recruited 803 undergraduate college students for an anonymous online study involving an evaluation of a short scenario describing a sexual assault. The variables manipulated in the scenarios were victim gender (man or woman), perpetrator gender (man or woman), and timing of victim's report to the police (same night or six months later). Participants completed questionnaires related to rape myth acceptance and demographics, including rural residence. A between-subjects ANOVA revealed a trend toward significance of blame toward male victims and an interaction between victim gender and timing of report on participants' ratings of victim blame. A follow-up ANOVA was used to examine the main and interaction effects between victim gender, perpetrator gender, and report timing on ratings of victim blame again, but adding two categorical variables (high/low female and male rape myth acceptance). Results showed significant main effects of both female and male rape myth acceptance on ratings of victim blame. Additional analyses revealed higher acceptance of female and male rape myths among men compared to women and no difference in rape myth acceptance across participant rurality. Supplemental findings showed high rates of experiencing sexual assault and very low rates of reporting sexual assault among study participants. These findings and others are discussed. Being able to understand factors contributing to victim blame may help clinicians and educators create effective interventions.

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Research Data and Supplementary Material