Nurses' Attributions about Rape Victims



In an evaluation experiment, 80 registered nurses (64% of whom had cared for at least one rape victim) read an account of a rape involving a woman who drove to a drugstore on her way home from work. By random assignment, the nurses read one of four versions of the rape which varied in terms of whether or not the victim locked her car door (carelessness manipulation) and time of attack (5:00 p.m. or midnight). Subjects evaluated the victim on a series of 0 to 9 bipolar adjective scales. MANOVA showed a significant main effect for the locked/unlocked conditions: Nurses who read the unlocked version, as compared to those reading the locked version, showed differences in terms of more negative ratings of the victim on such variables as less liking for her, less identification with her, and assigning greater responsibility for the rape to her (p ≤ 0.005). Time of attack and the interaction were not significant.