What is it about?

Our manuscript provides the first examination of bystander blaming. The notion of bystander-blaming is not new, but it has not been tested until now. Our findings show that bystander blaming is influenced by counterfactual thinking and defensive attribution. Also, we found gender differences in bystander blaming.

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Why is it important?

Attribution of blame to the bystander may minimize the bystander’s ability to support the victim and prevent a positive contribution to the rehabilitation process. Thus, assistance to the victims—including treatment and rehabilitation—may need to include assistance to the bystander, at least to bystanders, such as family members and relatives of the victims.


We read newspapers, watch news, and hear stories about victims and victimization. Thus, indirectly we all are a type of bystander - we are aware of the victimization. Therefore we all may be blamed for not helping people in need, for not preventing victimization. So, the issue of bystander blaming is very relevant to everyone, including me. Therefore, I consider this study very interesting and the results are intriguing.

Dr Inna Levy
Ariel University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Mechanism of Bystander-Blaming: Defensive Attribution, Counterfactual Thinking, and Gender, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, September 2013, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0306624x13503297.
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