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Measuring Victimhood: Developing a Victim Self-Ascription Scale
Unformatted Document Text:  DRAFT – For permission to cite contact Andy Davies on ## email not listed ## The Structure of Victimhood: An Exploratory Study Andy Davies Abstract It is not always very clear what victimologists study. Recent attempts to define the subject have centered on what types of victimization to include, distracting from the subjective and psychological core of victimization experiences themselves. This paper seeks to add clarity by characterizing victimization as a psychological phenomenon, attempting to measure it, and examining its relation to theoretically predicted outcomes. Victimization is defined as the perception that a personal experience was harmful, unjust and caused by forces external to the victim. 271 participants were screened for potentially victimizing experiences. Where these were reported, situationally specific perceptions of harm, injustice and external attribution were taken. Relationships between these perceptions and three outcomes – anger, the self-ascription of secondary rights, and the willingness to describe oneself as a victim – were examined. Though the perceived harmfulness and injustice of target experiences were related to the outcome variables, external attribution was not, contrary to expectations. Discussion centers on the pre-eminence of justice concerns in the psychology of victimization. Page 1

Authors: Davies, Andrew.
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DRAFT – For permission to cite contact Andy Davies on ## email not listed ##
The Structure of Victimhood: An Exploratory Study 
Andy Davies
Abstract
It is not always very clear what victimologists study.  Recent attempts to define the subject have 
centered on what types of victimization to include, distracting from the subjective and psychological 
core of victimization experiences themselves.  This paper seeks to add clarity by characterizing 
victimization as a psychological phenomenon, attempting to measure it, and examining its relation to 
theoretically predicted outcomes.  
Victimization is defined as the perception that a personal experience was harmful, unjust and caused by 
forces external to the victim.  271 participants were screened for potentially victimizing experiences. 
Where these were reported, situationally specific perceptions of harm, injustice and external attribution 
were taken.  Relationships between these perceptions and three outcomes – anger, the self-ascription of 
secondary rights, and the willingness to describe oneself as a victim – were examined.
Though the perceived harmfulness and injustice of target experiences were related to the outcome 
variables, external attribution was not, contrary to expectations.  Discussion centers on the pre-
eminence of justice concerns in the psychology of victimization.
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