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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 ## feel if this happened to them, both indicated that they would feel personally responsible for their own fate, though with markedly different responses. In the words of the male subject, B1 1 …bad things happen to people, and… I was doing something good for a friend, and that was a risk that I took. So that part of it, I can deal with it as long as I know that there's treatment and I will be treated. And later, B1 …you realize the person next to you is coughing badly and you realize this is a risk to your friend. Obviously the thought must also occur that it's a risk to yourself as well to be here. …[Y]ou felt that you should stay with your friend and as you do that you are taking a risk that your friend is also. This subject emphasizes that he knowingly took a risk in staying in the Emergency Room with his friend. In this, he seems to emphasize his sense of personal control, consistent with a ‘behavioral’ attribution of the type Janoff-Bulman discusses. But when it comes to his discussion of his ability to ‘deal with’ the situation, another element enters: the fact that he was ‘doing something good for a friend’. As he emphasizes later, this time in the second person, he felt he ‘should’ stay to care for his friend. At least as important as the sense of personal control in this account, therefore, is the sense that his actions were not only voluntary, but also justified. It is this justification that leads him to reflect that 'I can deal with it.' The critical importance of justification in relation to feelings of anger becomes all the more obvious when considering the second, contrasting case, this time spoken by two women in conversation. A8 I think I’d be angry with myself for not having tried harder. Because I probably knew 1 Participants in the focus groups were deidentified and coded according to the group they participated in (A, B or C) and the position of their seat in the room (1-8). Page 23

Authors: Davies, Andrew.
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DRAFT – For permission to cite contact Andy Davies on ## email not listed ##
feel if this happened to them, both indicated that they would feel personally responsible for their own 
fate, though with markedly different responses.  In the words of the male subject,
B1
…bad things happen to people, and… I was doing something good for a friend, and that 
was a risk that I took.  So that part of it, I can deal with it as long as I know that there's 
treatment and I will be treated.
And later,
B1
…you realize the person next to you is coughing badly and you realize this is a risk to 
your friend.  Obviously the thought must also occur that it's a risk to yourself as well to 
be here.  …[Y]ou felt that you should stay with your friend and as you do that you are 
taking a risk that your friend is also.
This subject emphasizes that he knowingly took a risk in staying in the Emergency Room with his 
friend.  In this, he seems to emphasize his sense of personal control, consistent with a ‘behavioral’ 
attribution of the type Janoff-Bulman discusses.  But when it comes to his discussion of his ability to 
‘deal with’ the situation, another element enters: the fact that he was ‘doing something good for a 
friend’.  As he emphasizes later, this time in the second person, he felt he ‘should’ stay to care for his 
friend.  At least as important as the sense of personal control in this account, therefore, is the sense that 
his actions were not only voluntary, but also justified.  It is this justification that leads him to reflect 
that 'I can deal with it.'
The critical importance of justification in relation to feelings of anger becomes all the more obvious 
when considering the second, contrasting case, this time spoken by two women in conversation.
A8
I think I’d be angry with myself for not having tried harder.  Because I probably knew 
1
 Participants in the focus groups were deidentified and coded according to the group they participated in (A, B or C) and 
the position of their seat in the room (1-8).
Page 23


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