Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)



First Advisor

Dr. Linda A. Foley

Second Advisor

Dr. Dominik Guss

Department Chair

Dr. Minor Chamblin

College Dean

Dr. Mark Workman


Mock jurors (N = 200) read descriptions of a mock civil case involving an adult survivor of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy who is suing his/her abuser for monetary/psychological damages. Jurors individually decided perceived percent of responsibility of defendant, award to plaintiff pre- and post-group deliberations, and as a mock jury, in groups of 5 to 10. Jurors and juries assigned greater percent of culpability to female defendants than male defendants. Individual jurors awarded more n1oney to plaintiffs abused by female defendants than male defendants. Low Modem Sexism Scale (MSS) scorers attributed greater percentage of responsibility to defendants and awarded plaintiff more money than high scorers. There was no significant difference in award to male or female plaintiffs; however, greater percent of culpability was assigned to defendants who abused plaintiff longer (i.e., 19 years vs. 10 years). Low Belief in Just World (BJW) scorers individually attributed greater percent of responsibility to defendant and awarded more money to plaintiff than high scorers. Gender of defendant, just world, and sexist attitudes appeared to play important roles in jurors' decisions in cases involving adults who were child victims.