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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teen perceptions of adolescent dating violence Morrison, Katheryn E.


Previous research has demonstrated that adolescent victims of dating violence most often reach out to a peer or friend to disclose their victimization, more so than any other form of support. Despite this, little research has explored how adolescents perceive a peer’s disclosure of dating violence. Acknowledging this gap, the present study examined the reactions adolescents have toward peer disclosures of dating violence, and whether the type of dating violence disclosed would impact these reactions. Specifically, this study investigated how perceptions of blame, interpretations of the incident as violence, and intentions to respond differed if an adolescent disclosed an experience of physical, psychological, sexual, cyber-psychological, or cyber-sexual dating violence. This was the first study to quantitatively explore differences in perceptions of in-person versus cyber forms of dating violence, and was unique in exploring adolescent perceptions, as previous quantitative research features solely adult samples. As part of a national research project, a sample of 670 high school adolescents across Canada were randomly assigned to complete a questionnaire which included a hypothetical vignette of a dating violence scenario. Results indicated that the type of dating violence experienced and the age and gender of participants all played a role in blame, understandings of violence, and intentions to respond. The findings of the current study demonstrate how intervention and prevention programs can best serve youth by addressing the specific contexts and issues unique to each type of dating violence.

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