College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Cecilia Martinez-Torteya, PhD

Second Advisor

Megan Greeson, PhD


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is highly prevalent within the United States leading to millions of people each year being exposed to violence directly, through involvement in a violent relationship, or indirectly, by witnessing or being close to someone who is in a violent relationship. A common societal response to IPV is victim blaming which attributes fault and responsibility to survivors of abuse. Survivors of IPV report victim blaming as one of the least helpful responses when disclosing to an informal social support. Personal experiences of IPV, either directly or indirectly, can affect levels of victim blame because a person who has been victimized may process the IPV differently. Altered processes related to IPV victimization may be a result of higher levels of depression and PTSD that are often found in IPV victimized populations. This research looked to add to the understanding of IPV and victim blaming by asking undergraduate students to report their IPV exposure and make fault attributions in response to IPV vignettes. Participants were also asked questions about depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology, two common consequences of IPV exposure. Based on past research on IPV and theory regarding victim blaming, it was hypothesized that both direct and indirect IPV exposure would affect a person’s level of victim blaming. It was hypothesized that direct IPV exposure will decrease victim blaming, unless the victim reports mental health symptoms, which will increase victim blaming. Additionally, it was hypothesized that indirect victimization will increase levels of victim blame which will be amplified by mental health symptoms. Finally, it was hypothesized that direct IPV victimization later in life will moderate the relationship between early indirect exposure to IPV and victim blaming. A better understanding of victim blaming is essential to providing survivors of partner violence the best possible recovery and this research aims to contribute to this understanding.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons