Bidirectional Associations Between Acceptability of Violence and Intimate Partner Violence From Adolescence to Young Adulthood

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Abstract

Objective: Beliefs about the acceptability of intimate partner violence (IPV) are associated with the perpetration of IPV among adolescents. However, minimal research has examined whether this association persists across time or whether there is a bidirectional association between acceptability of IPV and the perpetration of IPV. The purpose of the present study was to examine bidirectional associations between acceptability of IPV and the perpetration of IPV from adolescence into young adulthood. Method: A sample of diverse high school students (N = 1,042; 56% female) from the Southwestern United States was assessed each year for 6 consecutive years. At each assessment, participants completed measures of the acceptability of IPV and psychological and physical IPV perpetration. The mean age of the sample at the first assessment was 15.09 years (SD = 0.79). Results: Structural equation modeling demonstrated that acceptability of male-to-female IPV and acceptability of female-to-male IPV were not consistent predictors of one’s own IPV perpetration over time. In addition, minimal evidence was found for a bidirectional association between acceptability of IPV and one’s own IPV perpetration over time. Moreover, minimal sex differences were evident and there were no differences based on race/ethnicity. Conclusion: Despite the stability of beliefs about the acceptability of IPV over time from adolescence to young adulthood, findings suggest that acceptability of IPV is not a robust predictor of one’s own IPV perpetration during this developmental period. The implications of targeting beliefs about IPV in prevention and intervention programs are discussed.

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