From What They See, to What They Think, to What They Do: How Exposure to Interparental Violence Leads to Dating Violence, Through Implicit and Explicit Attitudes

McCormick, Lila
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University of Guelph

Previous research has revealed that children who are exposed to interparental violence are at an increased risk of involvement in dating violence later in life, a relationship that has been found to be mediated by attitudes toward violence. However, such research has focused solely on explicit attitudes, and has not taken into consideration the role of implicit attitudes. The current study sought to fill this gap in the literature by exploring the potential mediating role of both explicit and implicit attitudes in the relationship between interparental violence and dating violence among a young adult sample. Participants were asked to complete self-report measures regarding their exposure to interparental violence, dating violence involvement and explicit attitudes towards violence, as well as two measures of implicit attitudes. The results revealed that for females, explicit, but not implicit, attitudes mediated the relationship between interparental violence and dating violence. However for males, both implicit and explicit attitudes were found to mediate the relationship between interparental violence and dating violence, suggesting that implicit attitudes are an important, though under-researched, predictor of dating violence. The current findings have implications for clarifying the importance of implicit attitudes in theories of the intergenerational transmission of violence, as well as for intervention programs targeting dating violence attitudes and behaviours.

dating violence, intimate partner violence, interparental violence, attitudes, explicit, implicit