Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Consequences of Dating Violence Perpetration: A Qualitative Analysis




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Aggression and violence that occurs in the context of dating relationships is correlated with a variety of deleterious effects, including lower self-esteem, reduced self-worth, increased self-blame, anger, hurt and anxiety (e.g. Jackson, Cram, & Seymour, 2000). Recent theoretical models have advocated for conceptualizing IPV as a systemic issue, encapsulating individual, dyadic, and contextual variables and emphasizes looking more carefully at the motivations that individuals brings to an event, the surrounding circumstances, and the consequences (Bell & Naugle, 2008; Wilkinson & Hamerschlag, 2005). The goal of a behavioral analysis is to determine the function of a behavior specifically within the antecedent conditions, rather than focusing exclusively on the topography of the behavior. Therefore, the purpose of the present project was to more systematically examine the specific consequences of dating violence among a student sample of perpetrators of aggression. The current project sought to examine in greater depth the consequences identified by perpetrators of dating violence in order to get a fuller picture of the potential reinforcers and punishers that exist for couples in dating relationships. This multisite project included 30 undergraduate students who reported perpetration of dating violence. All participants completed a functional interview exploring in-depth the antecedents and consequences of the most recent aggression in their relationship. The results suggested that perpetrators of dating violence identified a range of punishers for perpetration, including their own and their partners' emotional responses. In addition, a variety of reinforcers were also identified, including partner compliance and attention, which may contribute to continued perpetration.

Conference Name

ABCT Annual Conference

Conference Location

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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