What influence do the personal belief in a just world (i.e., the perception that one usually gets what one deserves) and different kinds of causal attributions have on adjustment to sexual violence? Using a sample of N = 62 victims of sexual aggression (mean age = 21.7) it was shown that respondents were better able to adjust to their experience of sexual violence the higher their personal belief in a just world. Moreover, the more respondents attributed their victimization to situational circumstances (external attributions) and the less they attributed their victimization to their character and personality (characterological self-attributions), the less they felt distressed by past victimization. The degree to which participants attributed their victimization to their own concrete behavior (behavioral self-attribution) was not related to their adjustment. Further analyses showed that the influence of the personal belief in a just world was mediated by the three attribution styles. Additionally, the adaptiveness of external attributions was moderated by participants' just world belief.

Attributions, Belief in a just world, Rape, Sexual aggression
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11211-005-3369-1, hdl.handle.net/1765/62388
Social Justice Research
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Fetchenhauer, D, Belschak-Jacobs, G, & Belschak, F.D. (2005). Belief in a just world, causal attributions, and adjustment to sexual violence. Social Justice Research, 18(1), 25–42. doi:10.1007/s11211-005-3369-1