Attitudes towards offenders: effects of the victim type and the offender’s age

Ruxandra Loredana Gherasim, Iulia Prună, Cornelia Amariei


The aim of this present study is to assess the impact of victim type and offender‘s characteristics on the personality evaluation and punishment given to the offender. A 3 (victim type: the person his/herself, one of the parents versus an unknown person) x 2 (offender‘s age: minor versus adult) experimental design was used. The results indicated that the evaluation of offender‘s personality traits was not significantly influenced by the victim type. There was a significant main effect of the type of offender on evaluation, more negative traits being attributed to the adult offender than to the minor one. There was a significant effect of the victim type on offender punishment. When the victim was an unknown person and the offender was a minor, the participants were less punitive and more in favor of rehabilitation, compared to the situation when the victim was the person him/herself or one of the parents and the offender was an adult. The results are discussed from a deviant subculture perspective.

victim type, offender‘s age, personality traits, punishment

Ruxandra Loredana Gherasim – Al. I. Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, E-mail:

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