ERIC Number: ED263463
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Mar
Reference Count: 0
"Why Me?" An Attributional Theory of Adjustment to Victimization.
Shaffer, Leigh S.; And Others
Studies on victimization suggest that victims, whether of crime, accident, disease, or natural disaster, ask "why me?" questions and that finding answers to these questions seems related to the victims' adjustment. An attributional theory of victims' search for meaning in their misfortune proposes that victims perceive their misfortunes as personally caused events and suggests that beliefs about cosmology play a critical role in adjustment. The cognitive aspects of the process of adjustment to victimization is a general process regardless of the misfortune suffered. The victim's perception of the misfortune invokes the paradigm of personal causation whether it is rationally appropriate or not. Counselors and pscyhotherapists must recognize and facilitate this process in order to promote the victim's adjustment. Therapists must accept preoccupations with "why" questions and animistic accounts for natural events as the expected reactions to victimization and as a normal part of the adjustment process. The timing and choice of intervention with victims require greater understanding of the role of fatalistic accounts, and of when such accounts become counterproductive to a victim's recovery. It has yet to be resolved which treatment approach is most effective for victims. Cognitive treatment orientations are relevant, metaphysical or religious beliefs may be valuable for some clients, and certain forms of existentialism may benefit others. (NRB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Assocation (Boston, MA, March 21-24, 1985).