Congratulations to second-year Master’s student, Kolton Smith, on successfully defending his Master’s Thesis titled “Victim-Perpetrator Overlap and Posttraumatic Growth“. Given the limited research in this field that is often constrained to intimate partner and sexual violence, Kolton’s study set out to explore Victim-Perpetrator Overlap (VPO), Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) in relation to VPO, and if perpetrators experience or report PTG concurrently with offending.
Kolton hypothesized that (1) people who experience PTG as a victim will be less likely to become a perpetrator, (2) people who are asked to reflect on their victim experiences first will be less likely to report instances of being a perpetrator than those who are asked to reflect on their perpetration experiences first, and (3) PTG as a victim will be greater than that of PTG as a perpetrator regardless of condition.
Kolton’s study design consisted of randomly separating participants into two conditions in questions based on either victim or perpetrator experiences would appear first. The independent variables consisted of the condition that the participant was placed in as well as their experiences as a victim and perpetrator. The dependent variables were the amount of PTG that was being reported, both as a victim and as a perpetrator, and the amount of offending that was being reported.
Data was collected from 397 participants, 300 from an OU sample, who received .5 SONA credits for completing the survey, and 97 participants from the community sample, who received entry into a raffle for completing the survey. of the 397 participants, only 248 participants completed all four attention checks, thus serving as the basis for the analysis.
After analyses were ran, data revealed Kolton’s first hypothesis was not supported as PTG as a victim had very low correlation with the total for perpetration experiences.
His second hypothesis was also not supported after initial composite scores for perpetration found no significant difference between groups. Kolton’s third hypothesis was not supported either, however, there was a significant interaction between conditions, for condition one in which participants encountered perpetrator experiences before victim experiences, they reported higher PTG scores for perpetration rather than for victimization.
Lack of support for Kolton’s hypotheses can be attributed to massive skews that were found during data analyses, partially due to the OU sample used, which differs in composition in relation to other communities. However, this finding can be used to adjust the design for future studies, and can be addressed through expanding community samples.
Even though there is limited research regarding Victim-Perpetrator Overlap, Kolton has made great headway. Congratulations on defending your thesis Kolton! We can’t wait to see what else you accomplish!