Department of Psychology
While self-blame has been considered to be a useful coping tool for victims, its benefits within the context of group discrimination are equivocal. The present research hypothesized that women encouraged to engage in self-blame for sex discrimination would be more likely to endorse accepting their situation or endorse the use of individual, normative actions. In contrast, women encouraged to engage in societal blame for sex discrimination would be more likely to participate in non-normative actions aimed at enhancing the status of the group as a whole. Female students in Canada were subjected to a situation of discrimination and were encouraged to blame either themselves or social discrimination. They were then given the opportunity to respond to the discrimination by endorsing various actions. A profile analysis of the endorsed actions indicated that women encouraged to blame themselves were most likely to endorse accepting their situation, while women encouraged to blame society endorsed non-normative individual confrontation.
Foster, Mindi D.; Matheson, Kimberley; and Poole, Megan, "Responding to Sexual Discrimination: The effects of societal versus self-blame" (1994). Psychology Faculty Publications. 43.