Abstract

The purpose of the present work was to investigate if a hierarchy of aetiology exists which would influence attitudes towards survivors of brain injury. An independent groups design utilised four independent variables; aetiology (measured at five levels: ‘Road Traffic Accident’ (RTA), ‘Alcohol’, ‘Drug Use’, ‘Aneurism’ and ‘Recreation’), blame (blame and no-blame), group (psychology students and members of the public) and gender to explore attitudes towards survivors of brain injury. The dependent variables were measured using the Prejudicial Evaluation Scale (PES) and Social Interaction Scale (SIS). Three hundred and twenty-five participants (173 students and 152 members of the public) were randomly allocated to 1 of 10 possible conditions. Among individuals who contributed to receiving their injury greater prejudice was displayed towards those in the ‘Drugs’ condition followed by ‘Recreation’, ‘RTA’, ‘Alcohol’ and ‘Aneurism’. Findings suggest that a hierarchy of aetiology exists, which results in prejudicial attitudes, and is influenced by issues of blame.