The Association Between Stereotypical Gender and Dating Beliefs and Digital Dating Abuse Perpetration in Adolescent Dating Relationships

Lauren Reed, L. Monique Ward, Richard M. Tolman, Julia R. Lippman, Rita C. Seabrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Digital media have become a significant context for adolescent dating relationships. As the use of social media and mobile phones increases, so do concerns that these media might be a context for “digital dating abuse” (DDA), or the use of digital media to harass, pressure, threaten, coerce, or monitor a dating partner. Although DDA has been shown to be common in adolescent dating relationships, little is known about the predictors of DDA perpetration or the role of stereotypical gender and dating beliefs in shaping these behaviors. This survey study of 703 high school students with dating experience investigated the role of gender beliefs in DDA perpetration using structural equation modeling. The survey included items pertaining to participants’ digital media use, stereotypical gender and dating beliefs, and three types of DDA perpetration. Girls reported more frequent perpetration of some types of DDA, and boys expressed greater endorsement of stereotypical gender and dating beliefs. The data supported our hypothesized models, such that endorsement of stereotypical beliefs was associated with different types of DDA perpetration for girls and boys. Higher endorsement of stereotypical beliefs was related to perpetration of digital monitoring and control behaviors for girls, and to directly aggressive and hostile digital behaviors for boys. These patterns align with stereotypical gender roles. Associations with sexually coercive digital behaviors for both girls and boys are discussed. This study suggests that beyond the gender of the perpetrator, societal beliefs about gender and dating may shape the problematic use of digital media in dating relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • adolescent victims of sexual assault
  • dating violence
  • Internet and abuse
  • media and abuse
  • youth violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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