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Journal Article

Citation

Orth U. Aggressive Behav. 2004; 30(1): 62-70.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2004, International Society for Research on Aggression, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)

DOI

unavailable

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Criminal victimization often provokes strong feelings of revenge. Two studies were conducted to investigate whether legal punishment of the perpetrator reduces victims' feelings of revenge. A cross-sectional study of 174 crime victims revealed that punishment severity does not predict feelings of revenge at a time several years after the trial. A longitudinal study of 31 crime victims revealed that, for the time interval from a few weeks before the trial to a few weeks after the trial, punishment severity significantly predicts a decrease in feelings of revenge; nevertheless intraindividual and interindividual stability of these feelings was high. Taken together, results of the two studies suggest that perpetrator punishment only partially, and moreover only transitorily, satisfies victims' feelings of revenge. Therefore, satisfaction of victims' feelings of revenge cannot be taken as empirical justification for tightening of sentencing norms.

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