Social Ecology and Entitlements Involved in Battering by Heterosexual College Males: Contributions of Family and Peers


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Abstract

This study examined how the social ecological factors of family history and relationships with peers were associated with 193 college men's partner violence and attitudes regarding battering. Multivariate (path) analyses revealed that witnessing paternal battering in childhood was both directly and indirectly (through male peer variables and attitudes concerning battering) related to a man's violence toward female partners. Specifically, those men who reported witnessing paternal domestic violence as a child were more likely to associate with male peers who are abusive and who provide informational support for relationship violence. Associating with abusive male peers and receiving male peer informational support for battering were also related to perpetrating relationship violence. Of particular interest were the findings that after controlling for witnessing paternal battering, male peer informational support exerted a direct effect on the increased likelihood of using violence against female partners, and that, in the path model predicting battering ever, witnessing battering ceased to be a significant predictor of men's violence when peer and attitudinal variables were considered. Male peer-related variables also predicted men's increased beliefs of entitlement to abuse female partners, and the belief that battering is justified directly affected partner violence perpetrated. These results support the inclusion of the broader social ecology of the batterer in examinations of male partner violence.

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