Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 351–377 | Cite as

A multivariate investigation of dating aggression

  • Louise Foo
  • Gayla Margolin


This study investigated the following variables for their unique and combined contributions to dating aggression: exposure to aggression in the family of origin (witnessing interparental aggression or being the victim of aggressive parenting); attitudes justifying dating aggression (when humiliated or in selfdefense); child-to-parent aggression; child sexual abuse; violent sexual victimization; alcohol use; and socioeconomic status. One hundred and eleven male and 179 female undergraduates reported on their own aggressive behaviors directed toward dating partners. Together, the predictor variables accounted for 41% of the variance in male-to-female aggression but only 16% of the female-to-male aggression. Humiliation, as a justification for dating aggression, contributes to the prediction of both males' and females' dating aggression, while self-defense, although a highly endorsed condition for justifying dating aggression, does not predict actual aggressive behavior. Exposure to interparental aggression plus the product between exposure and humiliation contribute to the prediction of males' dating aggression but exposure does not play a role in females' dating aggression. Violent sexual victimization contributes unique variance to both males' and females' dating aggression. The present data highlight the importance of examining specific circumstances under which males and females justify dating aggression and how such attitudes condoning aggression affect actual behaviors.

Key words

dating aggression family of origin aggression attitudes justifying dating aggression child-to-parent aggression sexual abuse alcohol socioeconomic status 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Foo
    • 1
  • Gayla Margolin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, SGM 501University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles

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