Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Intimate partner violence--Public opinion; Victims of family violence--Public opinion;


Approximately 36% of all women in the United States will experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at some point in their lifetime (Smith et al., 2018). Intimate partner violence can cause physical injury, poor mental health, chronic health problems, hospitalization, disability, or death (Breiding et al., 2015). Stigma is another consequence associated with IPV. Many victims of IPV report feeling guilt, denial, shame, and embarrassment as a result of the intimate partner violence victimization (Lichtenstein, 2006). Additionally, African American (Black) victims may be more heavily stigmatized than European American (White) victims. Socioeconomic status (SES) may also affect a person’s perception of the victim. To date, little research has been conducted to explore the interaction of race and SES on the stigma of IPV. The current study investigated stigma toward victims of intimate partner violence, and how stigma might vary across race and SES. Participants from an online crowdsourcing platform (N = 333) read one of four vignettes and responded to measures of perceived devaluation and discrimination (PDDS), desired social distance (SDS), and judgments of responsibility (JOR). More stigma was reported toward the low SES victim on measures of PDDS and SDS; however, the victim’s race did not significantly alter stigma toward her. Men reported more stigma toward the low SES victim than women, but this gender difference disappeared on measures of PDDS and SDS for the high SES victim. Participants who identified as more politically liberal reported less stigma toward the victim than other political orientations. The results of this study suggest that an IPV victim’s SES might have more of an effect on a person’s perception of the victim than the victim’s race.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Elizabeth Lefler, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 92 pages)