Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan M. Golding

Abstract

The present experiment investigated the role of gender stereotypes in cases in which a battered person kills his or her abuser. Regression analysis revealed an overall gender bias such that mock jurors were more likely to convict a man defendant who had killed his abusive wife than they were when a woman defendant who had killed her husband. Mediational analyses indicated that the relationship between abuser gender and verdict was partially mediated by sympathy toward the victim, and fully mediated by sympathy toward the defendant. Regression analysis also revealed an effect of abuser height, such that conviction rates were higher when an abuser was taller than his or her partner, regardless of abuser gender. Though not significant, trends suggested the act of killing an abusive partner was perceived as a protective act toward the child. Overall, the present study provides evidence that gender biases exist in cases in which a battered person kills his or her abuser.

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