Adolescent dating violence: An exploratory investigation of context and correlates

Diane M Hall, University of Pennsylvania


Dating violence incidence and context were investigated among a diverse sample of urban high school students, using a mixed method design. Quantitative data were used to investigate the use and experience of physical, psychological, and sexual dating violence. Other constructs assessed included beliefs about gender roles, rejection sensitivity, and beliefs about the acceptability of dating violence. Qualitative data involving an open-ended meta-process question were used to explore participants' thoughts about participation in a study of this nature, and focus group data were used to explore adolescent thoughts and beliefs about dating and dating violence. 30.1% of males and 48.1% of females reported using and 41.5% of males and 37.5% of females reported experiencing moderate-to-severe physical violence. Sexual violence was used by 33.1% of males and 13.6% of females. Experiences of sexual violence were reported by 36.9% of males and 23.8% of females. There were no differences in dating violence use or experience by sex or race. Female participants reported taking incidents of violence seriously and were more distressed by incidents. Gender role beliefs differed by sex, with females holding more egalitarian beliefs. White students expressed more egalitarian beliefs compared to other racial groups. Multiple regression analysis revealed that 8 of 10 models fit the data in predicting use and experience of different types of dating violence. Finally, cluster analysis revealed a seven-cluster profile of adolescent beliefs, which may be related to the use and experience of different types of psychological abuse. This typology was not significant in differentiating use or experience of physical or sexual dating violence. Meta-process data indicated that students enjoyed participating in the study and found the process to be beneficial. Focus group data revealed that beliefs about violence differed among participants. While many participants stated that violence was wrong, they were able to think of instances when it would be acceptable for someone to hit a boyfriend or girlfriend. Trust, power, and respect were important underlying dynamics in the use of physical dating violence. Results are discussed in terms of race and gender, and adolescent development.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Hall, Diane M, "Adolescent dating violence: An exploratory investigation of context and correlates" (2001). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3031667.