Coping with Victimization: Conclusions and Implications for Future Research


Research Center for Group Dynamics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.


The papers in this issue reflect an exciting new direction in social psychology that has been emerging for the past decade. Since the 1960's, social psychologists have devoted a great deal of attention to understanding reactions to outcomes that are stressful or uncontrollable. Until recently, the majority of these studies were conducted in laboratory settings. Subjects have been exposed to a variety of aversive outcomes such as electric shocks, noise bursts, or failure at problem-solving tasks. Some of these studies were designed to determine whether certain factors, such as predictability or control, minimize a person's subjective distress when an aversive event is experienced (see Thompson 1981, for a review). Others have focused on the aftereffects of stress–that is, whether people continue to show deficits in their performance and motivation once the stress has terminated (see, e.g., Glass & Singer, 1972; Hiroto & Seligman, 1975).