Purpose: To determine the degree to which causal attribution (“blame”) scores obtained from written vignettes of assault incidents, simulations of reality, reflect results that would be obtained from victims of actual assaults.
Design: Correlational study. Data were collected, 1990–1993, from a convenience sample of 59 RNs who had been assaulted verbally or physically at one neuropsychiatric hospital in the United States.
Methods: Victims used the Causal Attribution Scale to assign blame for their assault. Three judges then used the same scale to attribute cause for the assault based on a written description of the assault by the victim.
Findings: No significant differences in mean causal attribution levels were found between victims and the average ratings for the three judges for mild or severe assaults, nor between victims, judges, and the response levels obtained in two previous vignette studies.
Conclusions: Mean causal attribution (“blame”) scores observed in simulations that are carefully constructed assault vignettes are nearly the same as those observed in actual assaults. Vignettes appear promising as a simulation to study actual or hypothetical responses to assault.