Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Christina Hassija


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) affects approximately one in four women every year in the United States (Black et al., 2011). As a result, determining the potential implications IPV has on the victims requires extensive research and education. The manner in which a victim is responded to by others following abuse may have important implications for their adjustment following IPV. Identifying factors that contribute to the quality of responses towards victims of violence can help to inform future intervention and prevention programs; assist in decreasing mental health problems, and reduce the incidence rates of IPV. The purpose of the present study was to examine dating violence myths and victim blaming depending on severity of violence among male and female college students. A sample of 927 male (n = 222) and female (n = 705) psychology undergraduate college students were randomly assigned to receive one of four hypothetical vignettes depicting varying levels of dating violence (i.e., yelling, punching a hole in the wall, shoving, and physical assault). Respondents completed measures of perceived severity of violence presented in the vignette, victim blame, and adherence to domestic violence myths. Gender had a significant effect on severity of violence depicted in the least severe condition F(1,246) = 5.03, p = .03. Additionally, gender had a significant effect on blaming tendencies in the least severe condition F(1,238) = 9.98, p = .02. However, gender did not have a significant effect endorsement of dating violence myths a. Study findings’ implications, limitations and future directions will be discussed.