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Characteristics of Female Perpetrators and Victims of Dating Violence

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Although many researchers have explored the topic of dating violence, limited attention has been paid to female perpetrators. Very little research has examined variables that facilitate aggression for females in dating relationships. In an effort to investigate distinct types of violent behavior, the present study separated females who experience dating violence into three categories (bi-directional aggression, perpetrator-only, and victim-only) and compared them with a control group not previously exposed to interpersonal violence. The purpose of this study was to examine variables that discriminate violent females from non-violent females. Variables that were hypothesized to be associated with aggressive behavior and investigated in the current study were interparental aggression, self-esteem, love attitudes, and alcohol use. Three hundred female college students responded to multiple self-report questionnaires examining psychological correlates of dating violence. Females in the bi-directional aggression group were more likely to have witnessed their father abuse their mother and scored significantly lower on a measure of self-esteem than non-violent controls. Females in the control group demonstrated higher scores on a measure of mature and selfless love style than did the victim or perpetrator-only participants. There were no significant group differences regarding general alcohol consumption. Implications for prevention and intervention are presented and discussed.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-10-01

More about this publication?
  • Violence and Victims discusses theory, research, policy, and clinical practice in the area of interpersonal violence and victimization across such disciplines as psychology, sociology, criminology, law, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, and social work.

    The journal's 2014 Impact Factor is 0.858.
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