n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Attributing blame to incest victims : the mediating role of child sexual abuse myths and stereotypes

Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The purpose of this study was to investigate the mediating effects of child sexual abuse myths and stereotypes on incest blame attributions. A sample of 452 respondents, who were recruited through media appeals, were exposed to a vignette description of father-daughter incestuous abuse. The effect of attitudinal, respondent, and abuse characteristics were assessed using a 2 (victim's age: 7-year-old vs. 15-years-old) X 2 (victim's reaction: passive vs. resisting) X 2 (respondent's gender: male vs. female) factorial design, with subscale scores for the Child Sexual Abuse Myth Scale being entered as covariates, and with attributions of causal blame and moral responsibility being entered as dependent variables. The results showed that: (a) the inclusion of child sexual abuse myth scale scores in the prediction model was associated with a significant increase in the explained variance for both causal blame and moral responsibility; (b) abuse characteristics and myth acceptance scores contributed independently towards the explained variance in causal attributions; and (c) after controlling for myth acceptance scores, there was no significant main or interaction effects of abuse characteristics on attributions of moral responsibility to the victim. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for prevention and for future research.

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