College Women's Aggression in Relationships: The Role of Childhood and Adolescent Victimization


Despite growing evidence suggesting that women engage in verbal and physical dating aggression, there is a dearth of research examining the predictors of women's engagement in these behaviors. Utilizing a college sample, the purpose of the current study was to explore women's perpetration of dating aggression within the context of victimization experiences. Women (N = 374) completed surveys at the beginning and end of a 10-week academic quarter for course credit. Results from two retrospective regression analyses (all Time 1 variables) suggested that (1) paternal physical abuse and adolescent/adulthood verbal victimization predicted women's reports of verbal perpetration and (2) childhood sexual abuse, adolescent/adulthood verbal victimization, adolescent/adulthood physical victimization, and adolescent/adulthood verbal perpetration predicted women's reports of physical perpetration. Results from the two prospective, longitudinal regression analyses suggested that (1) verbal perpetration (as measured at Time 1) and verbal victimization over the interim predicted women's reports of verbal perpetration over the interim and (2) physical perpetration (as measured at Time 1), verbal perpetration over the interim, and physical victimization over the interim predicted women's reports of physical perpetration over the interim. These data suggest the importance of considering previous victimization experiences, mutual partner aggression, and a history of aggressive behaviors when examining women's use of aggression in dating relationships.



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Psychology of Women Quarterly


Sage Publications

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