Self-blame following a traumatic event: The role of perceived avoidability

  • Davis C
  • Lehman D
  • Silver R
 et al. 
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Examined the relationship between perceptions of avoidability, attributions of causality, and judgments of blame in 106 Ss (mean age 28.4 yrs) coping with spinal cord injury following an accident. Ss were interviewed 1 wk post-injury on the accident, its cause, whether it could be avoided, and who was to blame. Ss' responses were rated by 4 trained raters. Results show that Ss and raters attributed the same degree of causal significance to the Ss but differed in their assignment of blame, with Ss assuming more personal blame than the raters gave them. A significant portion of the Ss' self-blame could be attributed to their self-implicating perceptions of avoidability. The degree to which Ss believed that they could have avoided their accident predicted self-blame even after controlling for their causal attributions for the event. No significant differences in foreseeability were seen between Ss and raters. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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