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Psychosocial Intervention

On-line version ISSN 2173-4712Print version ISSN 1132-0559

Abstract

MARTIN-FERNANDEZ, Manuel; GRACIA, Enrique  and  LILA, Marisol. Assessing victim-blaming attitudes in cases of intimate partner violence against women: development and validation of the VB-IPVAW scale. Psychosocial Intervention [online]. 2018, vol.27, n.3, pp.133-143. ISSN 2173-4712.  http://dx.doi.org/10.5093/pi2018a18.

Intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) is the most common form of violence suffered by women and constitutes a serious public health problem of global proportions. Public attitudes towards IPVAW are key to understanding the social context in which this type of violence occurs. Victim-blaming attitudes are among those that reflect public tolerance and acceptability of IPVAW and are often used to explain or justify IPVAW. In this study we develop and validate a new instrument to assess victim-blaming attitudes in cases of IPVAW. A sample of 1,800 participants was recruited through social media and a second sample of 50 IPVAW offenders was used for validation purposes. Through a cross-validation approach and by fitting an item response theory model to the data, we found that the latent structure of the instrument was one-dimensional and particularly informative for medium and high levels of victim-blaming attitudes. Differential item functioning analysis showed that item parameters did not differ by gender. We found, in addition, that (a) our measure was strongly related to acceptability and perceived severity of IPVAW, and also to ambivalent sexism, (b) men presented higher levels of victim-blaming attitudes than women, and (c) IPVAW offenders showed higher levels of victim-blaming attitudes than men from the general population. A five-item short version of the scale is also presented for use in studies with limited application time or space. Our findings confirm that this new scale is a reliable and valid measure to assess victim-blaming attitudes in cases of IPVAW.

Keywords : Victim blaming; Attitudes; Intimate partner violence; Item response theory; Measurement; Violence against women.

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