It's Easier to Blame: Emotion Avoidance in Victim-blame/derogation in Just World Theory

Master's Thesis


Our world is replete with instances of innocent suffering. Typically, people are expected to empathize with innocent victims, yet many resort to victim-blaming and derogation. According to Just World Theory, a belief in a just world drives the blaming and derogation of innocent victims. However, several lines of evidence point to an important role played by emotion avoidance. In this paper, I argue that emotion avoidance drives victim-blaming/derogation and the belief in a just world.

In chapter 1, I present a review of the research on just world theory. Next, and since emotive processes are essential to my inquiry, I present in Chapter 2 a review of the psychological literature on emotion and emotion avoidance. In Chapter 3, I explore evidence supporting a role for emotion avoidance and present my thesis in more detail. Finally, in Chapter 4, I examine the Syrian nonviolent movement of 2011 as a case study and present some implications of my hypothesis for sociopolitical movements.


Attribute NameValues
Author Majd Alshoufi
Contributor Susan St. Ville, Committee Member
Contributor Lira K. Yoon, Committee Member
Contributor Laura Miller-Graff, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Peace Studies
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2017-04-13

Submission Date 2017-04-13
  • just world theory

  • Syria

  • psychology

  • peace studies

  • emotion avoidance

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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