Defense Date

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Terri Sullivan, PhD

Second Advisor

Albert Farrell, PhD

Third Advisor

Wendy Kliewer, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Everett Worthington, Jr., Phd

Fifth Advisor

Candace Burton, PhD

Abstract

High prevalence and the negative legal, health, and psychological consequences of adolescent dating aggression underscore the need to identify risk and protective processes associated with this type of aggression. Studying dating aggression in early adolescence is important, as this is the developmental time frame when most youth are establishing attitudes, beliefs, and norms for dating behaviors. The current study investigated longitudinal associations between perceived parental and peer support for violent and nonviolent responses to conflict and dating aggression perpetration among middle school students. Participants included 1,399 adolescents (52% female) in the sixth (n = 466), seventh (n = 467), and eighth (n = 466) grades. Results showed that peer support for nonviolent responses predicted lower frequencies of subsequent dating aggression among sixth graders, and perceived parental support for nonviolent responses resulted in decreased frequencies of dating aggression in the seventh and eighth grades. Peer support for violent responses predicted increased dating aggression in the seventh grade, and perceived parental support for violent responses led to higher frequencies of dating aggression in the eighth grade. Additionally, dating aggression predicted changes in adolescent perceptions of parental and peer support for violent and nonviolent responses. No sex differences were found in these models. Lastly, moderation analyses identified two significant interactions. These interactions illustrated that different combinations of parental and peer support for violent and nonviolent responses affected dating aggression perpetration, highlighting the importance of examining mixed messages and combinations of messages from parents and peers. Overall, the findings from the current study indicated that adolescent perceptions of parental and peer support for violent and nonviolent responses to conflict are important risk and protective processes, respectively, that are longitudinally associated with dating aggression. These findings can inform dating violence prevention programs, and stress the importance of adolescent, parental, and peer involvement in these programs.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

5-6-2016

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