Using data from the Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study (TARS), The current study examined the role of family violence in the adoption of attitudes accepting of intimate partner violence (IPV) among a sample of young adults (n = 928).
Social learning theory remains one of the leading explanations of intimate partner violence (IPV). Research on attitudes toward IPV represents a logical extension of the social learning tradition, as it is intuitive to expect that individuals exposed to violence in the family of origin may internalize behavioral scripts for violence and adopt attitudes accepting of IPV. Yet despite this assumed link between family violence and attitudes toward IPV, few studies have empirically examined factors associated with the development of such attitudes. The current investigation contributes to existing literature on attitudes toward IPV by (a) providing an empirical examination of factors associated with attitudes toward IPV in predictive models; (b) relying on a multifaceted index, describing specific conditions under which IPV may be deemed justifiable; (c) examining extra-familial factors, in addition to family violence exposure, to provide a more comprehensive account of factors associated with attitudes toward IPV; and (d) focusing on the role of gender, including whether the factors associated with attitudinal acceptance of IPV are similar for men and women. Findings indicated considerable variation in overall endorsement of attitudes regarding the use of violence across conditions, with greater endorsement among women. Consistent with social learning approaches to IPV, exposure to violence in the family of origin was associated with attitudes toward IPV. Yet findings also signaled the salience of factors beyond the family, including a range of sociodemographic, relationship, and adult status characteristics. The article concludes with a discussion of the relevance of these findings for future theorizing and research in the area of attitudes toward IPV. (publisher abstract modified)
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Date Published: January 1, 2019