Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Psychology; Social Psychology; Psychology of Peace and Violence

First Advisor

Linda R. Tropp

Second Advisor

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman

Third Advisor

David Arnold

Subject Categories

Ethnic Studies | Social Psychology


The current research examines how members of groups that have been victimized by ethnopolitical violence cognitively construe their group's experiences, and how these construals - referred to as victim consciousness (VC) - affect intergroup relations. It is proposed and shown in three empirical studies that VC can vary in its focus. On the one hand, some group members may construe their group's experiences narrowly, and perceive their group's victimization as unique (exclusive VC). On the other hand, ingroup victimization may be construed broadly such that outgroups who have been victims of group-based violence are perceived to be similar to the ingroup, and thereby included in a common victimized ingroup (inclusive VC). I propose that these contrasting representations mediate the effect of ingroup victimization on distinct outgroup orientations; specifically, exclusive VC should predict revenge or competitive victimhood, whereas inclusive VC should predict increased prosocial behavior toward victimized outgroups. Three studies (correlational and quasi-experimental) test the underlying processes and moderators of the two proposed forms of VC across different contexts.