Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Diedre Drake

Second Advisor

Dr Diane McKillop

Abstract

The aim of this study was to use Hart's (1968) 'Senses of Responsibility' model as a theoretical framework to examine the effects of three non dispositional characteristics of an accident involving personal injury. An experimental approach based on a 2 Agent type (corporation v individual) x 2 Outcome severity (mild, severe) x 2 Victim type (primary, secondary) between subjects factorial design was adopted. The study interviewed 160 participants randomly selected at five public recreational centres. 'Three 2 x 2 x 2 ANOVA's, were conducted on the three attribution ratings to determine the influence of the three independent variables. The study found that people were influenced by the severity of outcome and the type of victim in making attributions of responsibility. The interaction found that as the severity level increased a higher level of responsibility was attributed to the agent for the accident in particular when it came to the secondary victim. When both victims sustained severe injuries the agent was held equally responsible for compensating both victims and was judged as almost equally responsible in terms of the duties and obligation owed !he victims. Hart's (1968) model also showed that people make responsibility judgement in dimensions other than causation.

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