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College Partner Violence in the Digital Age: Explaining Cyber Aggression Using Routine Activities Theory

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Partner violence is prevalent in contemporary society, and certain groups of individuals such as college students are particularly at high risk for becoming involved in aggressive relationships. Cyber aggression is an emerging area of societal concern; however, little is known about the prevalence of these online behaviors between romantic partners. Because of the dearth of literature on cyber aggression among current and former intimate partners, this study examines the correlates of partner cyber aggression using the routine activities theoretical perspective among a sample of undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university. The results revealed that 71% of respondents perpetrated and 75% were victimized by at least one aggressive cyber behavior during the past 12 months. Correlates of partner abusive cyber aggression included athletic participation, increased time online, more text messages received, experiencing sexual abuse, lower self-esteem, being drunk more often, and more online guardianship; receiving more texts, experiencing more physical abuse, and more online guardianship were associated with cyber aggression victimization. The theoretical and policy implications of these findings were also discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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