Jeongsuk Kim

Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Social Work

First Advisor

Naomi Farber


Objective: Dating violence is a serious and prevalent problem among college students. Research on dating violence has pinpointed early exposure to violence as a strong predictor of violence perpetration in later life. However, little is known about the particular correlates or mechanisms that facilitate college students’ attitudes supporting violence and dating violence perpetration after early exposure to violence. The goals of this three-manuscript dissertation were (1) Chapter 2: to examine the relationship between three forms of violent socialization during childhood and attitudes supporting interpersonal violence; (2) Chapter 3: to examine the moderating effect of pro-violence messages in the relationship between early exposure to violence and later attitudes supporting violence, as well as dating violence perpetration; (3) Chapter 4: to examine the possible mediating effect of attitudes supporting violence and substance use in the relationship between early exposure to violence and dating violence perpetration.

Methods: This study utilized data from 4,533 U.S. college students in the International Dating Violence study (IDVS), based on cross-sectional design. Data from college students in the IDVS were collected through convenience sampling and consisted mostly of undergraduates enrolled in social sciences courses. Statistical analyses include ordinary least squares regression (Chapters 2 & 3), and path analysis (Chapter 4).

Results: (1) Chapter 2: The findings showed that advised violence, witnessed violence, and victimized violence each contributed to college students’ acceptance of violence. Verbal endorsement of violence from family and community members had stronger associations with students’ acceptance of interpersonal violence than did childhood experiences of violent victimization and witnessed violence. (2) Chapter 3: The results showed that pro-violence messages moderated the relationship between exposure to violence and attitudes accepting violence among female students, but the messages moderated the effects of exposure to violence on dating violence perpetration among male students. These findings clearly show that pro-violence messages may have different effects on college students’ cognition (attitudes toward violence) and their actual behaviors (dating violence perpetration), and that the effects of pro-violence messages vary according to gender. (3) Chapter 4: The findings highlight the significance of attitudes toward violence as a common mediator in the effects of exposure to violence – whether physical or sexual – on physical and psychological violence perpetration. However, substance abuse was a significant mediator only in the relationship between exposure to sexual violence and psychological violence perpetration. Conclusion: Collectively, this dissertation indicates that early intervention is critical in preventing the effects of exposure to violence on attitudes supporting violence and actual dating violence perpetration in college students. Thus, the findings highlight necessary training interventions for community members to prevent pro-violence norms. In particular, parents and community elders should take responsibility for providing non-violent advice to solve relationship conflicts for children. Interventions for college students should target multiple risk factors for dating violence perpetration, including gender, pro-violence attitudes, substance abuse, and individuals’ histories of exposure to violence. Implications for future research and limitations are discussed.


© 2019, Jeongsuk Kim

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