The Tendency to Feel Victimized in Interpersonal and Intergroup Relationships

Rahav Gabay, Boaz Hameiri, Tammy Rubel-Lifschitz, Arie Nadler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses individual differences in the tendency to perceive interpersonal victimhood, and parallels to collective victimhood. Specifically, some people are more likely than others to perceive victimization on the interpersonal level, experience it more intensely, and incorporate these experiences into their identity. The tendency to perceive (interpersonal) victimhood consists of four dimensions: a need for recognition of suffering, perceived moral superiority, lack of empathy for others’ suffering, and rumination over negative feelings and thoughts related to experienced offenses. People who score higher on these dimensions show greater biases in their interpretation, memory, and attributions of interpersonal transgressions: They recall them more, perceive them as more severe, expect more to be harmed by others, and perceive more harm in ambiguous situations. They are also less willing to forgive transgressions. The authors compare this with parallel findings on intergroup relations in the context of collective violence, arguing that similar processes operate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Social Psychology of Collective Victimhood
EditorsJohanna Ray Vollhardt
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780190875213
ISBN (Print)9780190875190
StatePublished - 2020


  • interpersonal victimhood
  • recognition
  • moral superiority
  • empathy
  • rumination
  • forgiveness
  • revenge
  • attachment style


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