Lilah Clevey

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School


Committee Member

Rusty McIntyre, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ellen Koch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen Jefferson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jillian Graves, Ph.D.


This project examined whether social or romantic rejection impacted participants’ endorsement of victim blaming beliefs toward sexual assault survivors. Participants were randomly assigned to read one of five vignettes, including a woman romantically rejecting a man, socially rejecting him, romantically accepting him, socially accepting him, or a neutral control story. After reading the vignette, participants were administered a scale assessing their endorsement of beliefs that blame survivors of sexual assault for their assault. It was hypothesized that cisgender men that read vignettes about being rejected by a woman would endorse significantly more victim blaming beliefs and that participants’ own levels of trait shame would moderate their levels of victim blaming. If an effect was found, it was hypothesized that participants’ level of entitlement would mediate the results. It was additionally hypothesized that endorsement of victim blaming beliefs would correlate with both just world beliefs and traditional masculinity. Participants were administered a number of additional measures that were used in exploratory analyses, including participants’ level of aggression, impulsiveness, sexism, narcissism, state shame, guilt, and relationship history. The final sample included 141 college-aged cisgender males. Victim blaming did not significantly differ by vignette condition. Across the full sample, victim blaming was significantly correlated with just world beliefs, traditional masculinity, trait shame, aggression, entitlement, ambivalent sexism, hostile sexism, benevolent sexism, and narcissism.