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Journal Article


Johnson JD, Edwards W, Pagliaro S, Lecci L. J. Interpers. Violence 2021; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2021, SAGE Publishing)






Although there is growing evidence that receiving positive emotional support (e.g., empathy) facilitates improved mental health outcomes among intimate partner violence (IPV) victims, there has been minimal exploration of factors that might undermine the likelihood of such supportive responses. The current study addressed this issue by examining whether exposure to sexualized music videos would affect IPV victim-directed empathic responding of third-party respondents. In a three-condition design, 243 female Fijian university students viewed sexualized, nonsexualized, or neutral music videos. They then read about a male-to-female IPV incident involving a university student victim who focused heavily on academic success and rated aspiration-related culpability and empathic responding for the victim. Relative to those who viewed neutral and nonsexualized videos, those who viewed the sexualized video reported less victim-directed empathy. Moreover, the impact of video type on empathy was mediated by aspiration-related culpability (i.e., the perception that the victim studied too much). The present research examined, in an understudied, patriarchal population (Fijian women) with an extremely high rate of IPV, how exposure to sexualized music videos can contribute to both greater blame and greater desensitization to the suffering of an IPV victim. The importance of studying third-party responders (bystanders) is that they may represent a fundamental resource for the victim, or by contrast, if they fail to respond empathically, they would be unsupportive to a victim. This provides some directions for facilitating social controls and decreasing social tolerance for harmful patriarchal beliefs and gender-based violence in the Pacific Region of the world.

Language: en


domestic violence; desensitization; empathic responding; video exposure


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