Cognitive Attitudes and Biases of Victim Mentality


The research analyzes cognitive attitudes and biases in people with victim mentality. The hypothesis that the study aims to test is that there is a correlation between the level of victimhood and the cognitive attitudes and biases that determine victim behaviour. Methodologically, the study relies on a range of tools, including the questionnaire “Predisposition to Victim Behaviour”, the Victim Mentality Questionnaire, the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale and the adjusted REBT-test (rational emotive behaviour therapy). The study was conducted in 2018 in Russia and covered a sample of 106 people: 45 male and 61 female respondents aged 20–29. The hypothesis was confirmed and correlations were found between the type of victim behaviour, victim mentality, dysfunctional attitudes and irrational beliefs. Irrational beliefs are thus considered as victimogenic determinants correlating with the level of victimhood and forms of victim behaviour. These findings can be used to develop preventive and therapeutic strategies to help patients suffering from victim mentality and related problems.

Author Biographies

Olga O. Andronnikova, Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University, Novosibirsk, Russia

Olga O. Andronnikova, Candidate of Sciences (Psychology), Dean of the Faculty of Psychology, Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University; Chairman of the Novosibirsk Regional Branch of the Federation of Educational Psychologists of Russia; full member of the All-Russian Professional Psychotherapeutic League; member of the American Psychological Association (APA), Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. Her research interests embrace hard and real-life situations, work with psychological trauma, adjustment disorder, addictions, behavioral complexity, and parent-child relationships. She is the author of over 200 works, including 32 textbooks. Her most recent publication: On the Relationship Between Uncertainty Tolerance and Hardiness in Adolescents (2021). Journal of Siberian Federal University. Humanities and Social Sciences.

Sergey I. Kudinov, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Moscow, Russia

Sergey I. Kudinov, Doctor of Sciences (Psychology), Professor, Head of the Department of Social and Differential Psychology, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. His research interests include: self-realization of the subject of activity; properties of personality and individuality; formation and development of personality in ontogenesis; gender, national-ethnic, and individual-typological aspects of personality; professional deformation and emotional burnout of personality; social intellect; deviations, addictions, delinquencies; adaptation and acculturation of personality. His is the author of over 200 publications.


  • Andronnikova, O. O. (2005). Viktimnoe povedenie podrostkov: faktory vozniknoveniia i profilaktika [Victim behavior of adolescents: factors of occurrence and prevention]. Novosibirsk Institute of Humanities.

  • Andronnikova, O. O., & Radzikhovskaya, O. E. (2011). Viktimnaia identichnost' lichnosti i faktory ee stanovleniia: teoreticheskii i empiricheskii analiz [Victim identity of a personality and factors of its formation: theoretical and empirical analysis]. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.

  • Andronnikova, O. O., & Volokhova, V. I. (2018). Psikhologicheskie granitsy viktimnoi lichnosti [Psychological boundaries of victim identity]. Siberian Pedagogical Journal, 2, 111–118.

  • Aquino, K., & Byron, K. (2002). Dominating interpersonal behavior and perceived victimization in groups: Evidence for a curvilinear relationship. Journal of Management, 28(1), 69–87.

  • Bartlett, F. C. (1932). Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. Cambridge University Press.

  • Beck, A. T., & Freeman, A. M. (Eds.). (1990). Cognitive therapy of personality disorders. Guilford Press.

  • Bocharova, E. E. (2019). Strukturnye osobennosti diskriminatsionnykh ustanovok lichnosti [Structural peculiarity of discriminatory attitudes of the personality]. Izv. Saratov Univ. (N. S.), Ser. Educational Aсmeology. Developmental Psychology, 8(2), 146–156.

  • Braiker, H. B. (2004). Who's pulling your strings? How to break the cycle of manipulation and regain control of your life. McGraw-Hill.

  • Büssing, A., & Fischer, J. (2009). Interpretation of illness in cancer survivors is associated with health-related variables and adaptive coping styles. BMC Women's Health, 9, Article 2.

  • Callan, M. J., Kay, A. C., & Dawtry, R. J. (2014). Making sense of misfortune: Deservingness, self-esteem, and patterns of self-defeat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(1), 142–162.

  • Falikman, M. V., & Spiridonov, V. F. (Eds.). (2011). Kognitivnaia psikhologiia: istoriia i sovremennost’: Khrestomatiia [Cognitive psychology: history and modernity]. Lomonosov.

  • De Houwer, J. (2019). Implicit bias is behavior: A functional-cognitive perspective on implicit bias. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14(5), 835–840.

  • Deák, G. O. (2004). The development of cognitive flexibility and language abilities. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 31, 271–327.

  • Dennis, J. P., & Vander Wal, J. S. (2010). The cognitive flexibility inventory: Instrument development and estimates of reliability and validity. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 34(3), 241–253.

  • Ellis, A., & MacLaren, C. (2008). Rational emotive behavior therapy: A therapist's guide (2nd ed.).‎ Impact Publishers.

  • Harvey, A. J., & Callan, M. J. (2014a). The role of religiosity in ultimate and immanent justice reasoning. Personality and Individual Differences, 56(1), 193–196.

  • Harvey, A. J., & Callan, M. J. (2014b). Getting "just deserts" or seeing the "silver lining": The relation between judgments of immanent and ultimate justice. PloS one, 9(7), e101803.

  • Janoff-Bulman, R. (1992). Shattered assumptions: Towards a new psychology of trauma. Free Press.

  • Janoff-Bulman, R., & McPherson Frantz, C. (1997). The impact of trauma on meaning: From meaningless world to meaningful life. In M. J. Power & C. R. Brewin (Eds.), The transformation of meaning in psychological therapies: Integrating theory and practice (pp. 91–106). Wiley.

  • Kameniukin, A. G., & Kovpak, D. V. (2008). Antistress-trening [Antistress training] (2nd ed.). Piter.

  • Linehan, M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. Guilford Press.

  • Miller, A. B., Williams, C., Day, C., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2017). Effects of cognitive distortions on the link between dating violence exposure and substance problems in clinically hospitalized youth. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 73(6), 733–744.

  • Odintsova, M. A. (2012). Rolevaia viktimnost' v povedenii podrostkov iz sotsial'no nezashchishchennykh semei [Role victimity in behavior of adolescents from socially unprotected families]. Psychological Science and Education, 4(3).

  • Olson, J. A. (1994). [Review of the book by Janoff-Bulman, R. (1992). Shattered Assumptions: Towards a New Psychology of Trauma. New York: Free Press]. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 36(3), 222–225.

  • Osavoliuk, E., & Kurginyan, S. (2018). Kognitivnaia fleksibil'nost' lichnosti: teoriia, izmerenie, praktika [Person's cognitive flexibility: Theory, measurement, and practice]. Psychology, Journal of the Higher School of Economics, 15(1), 128–144.

  • Padun, M. A., & Tarabrina, N. V. (2003). Psihicheskaja travma i bazisnye kognitivnye shemy lichnosti [Mental trauma and basic cognitive patterns of personality]. Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 11(1), 121–141.

  • Piaget, J. (1950). The psychology of intelligence. Routledge.

  • Rasskazova, E. I., Emelin, V. A., & Tkhostov, A. Sch. (2019). Kognitivnye komponenty radikal'nykh ustanovok i gotovnosti k ekstremal'nomu povedeniiu: razrabotka rabochei modeli [Cognitive components of radical attitudes and readiness to extreme behavior: development of the working model]. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 12(63), Article 2.

  • Rohatsen, O. Y. (2019). Protsess viktimizatsii kak sotsial'no-psikhologicheskoe iavlenie [Process of victimization as a socio-psychological phenomenon]. Journal of the Belarusian State University. Philosophy and Psychology, 1, 110–116.

  • Romens, S. E., Abramson, L. Y., & Alloy, L. B. (2009). High and low cognitive risk for depression: Stability from late adolescence to early adulthood. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33(5), 480–498.

  • Rubin, Z., & Peplau, A. (1973). Belief in a just world and reactions to another's lot: A study of participants in the national draft lottery. Journal of Social Issues, 29(4), 73–93.

  • Rudensky, E. V. (2018). Viktimologiia detstva i viktimologiia sem'i: kontseptualizatsiia novykh razdelov sotsial'no- psikhologicheskoi viktimologii lichnosti [Victimology of childhood and family victimology: conceptualization of new sections of socio-psychological victimology of personality]. PEM: Psychology. Educology. Medicine, 3, 91–102.

  • Shamionov, R. M., & Grigorieva, M. V. (2018). Vzaimosviaz' diskriminatsionnykh ustanovok lichnosti i sotsial'no-demograficheskikh kharakteristik, sotsial'no-politicheskikh i sotsial'no-ekonomicheskikh predpochtenii [Interconnection between discriminatory attitudes of an individual and socio-demographic characteristics, socio-political and socio-economic preferences]. Izv. Saratov Univ. (N. S.), Ser. Educational Aсmeology. Developmental Psychology, 7(4), 326–332.

  • Strelenko, A. A. (2013). Detsko-podrostkovaia viktimnost' kak sotsial'no-psikhologicheskoe iavlenie [Children and youth victimization as a socio-psychological phenomenon]. World of Science, Culture, Education, 5(42), 222–224.

  • Sykes, C. J. (1992). A nation of victims: The decay of the American character. St. Martin’s Press.

  • Volkova, N. N., & Gusev, A. N. (2016). Kognitivnye stili: diskussionnye voprosy i problemy izucheniia [Cognitive styles: Controversial issues and research problems]. National Psychological Journal, 2, 28–37.

  • Weismoore, J. T., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2010). The role of cognitive distortion in the relationship between abuse, assault, and non-suicidal self-injury. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(3), 281–290.

  • Wolff, J. C., Frazier, E. A., Esposito-Smythers, C., Becker, S. J., Burke, T. A., Cataldo, A., & Spirito, A. (2014). Negative cognitive style and perceived social support mediate the relationship between aggression and NSSI in hospitalized adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 37(4), 483–491.

  • Wood, J. V., Heimpel, S. A., Manwell, L. A., & Whittington, E. J. (2009). This mood is familiar and I don't deserve to feel better anyway: Mechanisms underlying self-esteem differences in motivation to repair sad moods. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(2), 363–380.

  • Yatsenka, T. E. (2019). Vzaimosviaz' viktimnoi deformatsii lichnosti i sklonnosti k viktimnomu povedeniiu v podrostkovom i iunosheskom vozrastakh [The relationship of personality victim deformation and penchant for victim behavior in adolescence]. Journal of Shadrinsk State Pedagogical University, 3(43), 233–241.

  • Zakharova, M. L. (2013). “Shkala disfunktsional'nykh otnoshenii” kak metod issledovaniia kognitivnykh iskazhenii [“Dysfunctional attitudes scale” as a method of the cognitive distortions' research]. In Person, family and society: issues of pedagogy and psychology: proceedings of the XXIX international correspondence scientific and practical conference (pp. 55–65). SibAC Publishing House.

  • Zmigrod, L., Rentfrow, P. J., & Robbins, T. W. (2019). Cognitive inflexibility predicts extremist attitudes. Frontiers in psychology, 10, Article 989.

How to Cite
Andronnikova, O., & Kudinov, S. (2021). Cognitive Attitudes and Biases of Victim Mentality. Changing Societies & Personalities, 5(4), 654–668. doi:10.15826/csp.2021.5.4.155