Description: Although researchers have studied perceptions regarding sexually abused children, little was known about how other types of abusive events were perceived. This study examined 480 college students' abuse history and perceptions of child, spousal, and elder abuse by varying the respondent, victim, and perpetrator genders. Physical abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect were investigated. Perceptions of abusiveness, seriousness, harm, and responsibility were examined, along with the extent of identification with the victims/perpetrators. Participants viewed spousal abuse as less serious and harmful than other abuse types, especially when perpetrated against a male or by a female. Although able to recognize psychological abuse, students did not fully understand what other abuse types entailed. Individuals also showed a considerable amount of blame toward victims. Results further demonstrated important findings about how ethnic identity/orientation, religious affiliation, and history of abuse related to perceptions of abusive events.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Altman, Adrianne