Commonly used dating violence prevention programs assume that promotion of more egalitarian gender role attitudes will prevent dating violence perpetration. Empirical research examining this assumption, however, is limited and inconsistent. The current study examined the longitudinal association between gender role attitudes and physical dating violence perpetration among adolescent boys (n = 577; 14 % Black, 5 % other race/ethnicity) and examined whether injunctive (i.e., acceptance of dating violence) and descriptive (i.e., beliefs about dating violence prevalence) normative beliefs moderated the association. As expected, the findings suggest that traditional gender role attitudes at T1 were associated with increased risk for dating violence perpetration 18 months later (T2) among boys who reported high, but not low, acceptance of dating violence (injunctive normative beliefs) at T1. Descriptive norms did not moderate the effect of gender role attitudes on dating violence perpetration. The results suggest that injunctive norms and gender role attitudes work synergistically to increase risk for dating violence perpetration among boys; as such, simultaneously targeting both of these constructs may be an effective prevention approach.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Allison, P. D. (2001). Missing data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
Amato, P. R., & Booth, A. (1995). Changes in gender role attitudes and perceived marital quality. American Sociological Review, 60, 58–66.
Bauer, D. J., & Curran, P. J. (2005). Probing interactions in fixed and multilevel regression: Inferential and graphical techniques. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 40, 373–400.
Bouchey, H. A., & Furman, W. (2003). Dating and romantic relationships in adolescence. In G. R. Adams & M. Berzonsky (Eds.), The blackwell handbook of adolescence (pp. 313–329). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.
Byers, E. S. (1996). How well does the traditional sexual script explain sexual coercion? A review of a program of research. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 8, 7–25.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Intimate partner violence: Risk and protective factors. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/riskprotectivefactors.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance-United States, 2013. MMWR 2014, 63(no. SS-4). Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6304.pdf
Cialdini, R. B., Reno, R. R., & Kallgren, C. A. (1990). A focus theory of normative conduct: Recycling the concept of norms to reduce littering in public places. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(6), 1015–1026.
Collins, L. M., & Graham, J. W. (2002). The effect of the timing and spacing of observations in longitudinal studies of tobacco and other drug use: Temporal design considerations. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 68, S85–S96.
Cotter, D. A., Hermsen, J. M., & Vanneman, R. (2011). End of the gender revolution? Gender role attitudes from 1977 to 2008. American Journal of Sociology, 117, 259–289.
Crouter, A. C., Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Osgood, W. D. (2007). The development of gender attitude traditionality across middle childhood and adolescence. Child Development, 78, 911–926.
Dobash, R. E., & Dobash, R. P. (1979). Violence against wives: A case against the patriarchy. New York: Free Press.
Eaton, A. A., & Rose., S. (2011). Has dating become more egalitarian? A 35 year review using sex roles. Sex Roles, 64, 843–862.
Eckhardt, C. I., Samper, R., Suhr, L., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2012). Implicit attitudes toward violence among male perpetrators of intimate partner violence: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27(3), 471–491.
Exner-Cortens, D., Eckenrode, J., & Rothman, E. (2013). Longitudinal associations between teen dating violence victimization and adverse health outcomes. Pediatrics, 71, 71–78. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-1029.
Foshee, V. A., & Bauman, K. (2001). Gender stereotyping and adolescent sexual behavior: A test of temporal order. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 22(20), 1561–1579.
Foshee, V. A., Bauman, K. E., Arriaga, X. B., Helms, R. W., Koch, G. G., & Linder, G. F. (1998). An evaluation of safe dates, an adolescent dating violence prevention program. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 45–50.
Foshee, V. A., Karriker-Jaffe, K. J., Reyes, H. L. M., Ennett, S. T., Suchindran, C., Bauman, K. E., et al. (2008). What accounts for demographic differences in trajectories of adolescent dating violence? An examination of intrapersonal and contextual mediators. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(6), 596–604.
Foshee, V. A., Linder, G. F., Bauman, K. E., Langwick, S. A., Arriaga, X. B., Heath, J. L., et al. (1996). The safe dates project: Theoretical basis, evaluation design, and selected baseline findings. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12(5), 39–47.
Foshee, V. A., Linder, F., MacDougall, J. E., & Bangdiwala, S. (2001). Gender differences in the longitudinal predictors of dating violence. Preventive Medicine, 32, 128–141.
Foshee, V. A., & Matthew, R. (2007). Adolescent dating abuse perpetration: A review of findings, methodological limitations, and suggestions for future research. In D. Flannery, A. Vazonsyi, & I. Waldman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of violent behavior and aggression (pp. 431–449). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Galambos, N. L., Petersen, A. C., Richards, M., & Gitelson, I. B. (1985). The attitudes toward women scale for adolescents (AWSA): A study of reliability and validity. Sex Roles, 13, 343–356.
Gillum, T. L., & Difulvio, G. (2012). There’s so much at stake: Sexual minority youth discuss dating violence. Violence Against Women, 18(7), 725–745.
Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (1997). Hostile and benevolent sexism: Measuring ambivalent sexist attitudes toward women. Special issue: Measuring attitudes toward appropriate roles for women and men. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 119–135.
Graham-Bermann, S. A., & Brescoll, V. (2000). Gender, power, and violence: Assessing the family stereotypes of the children of batterers. Journal of Family Psychology, 14(4), 600–612.
Gunter, B., & Wober, M. (1982). Television viewing and perceptions of women’s roles on television and in real life. Current Psychological Research, 2, 277–288.
Hayes, A. F. (2013). An introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.
Herzog, S. (2007). An empirical test of feminist theory and research: The effect of heterogeneous gender role attitudes on perceptions of intimate partner violence. Feminist Criminology, 2, 223–244.
Houser, J. J., Mayeux, L., & Cross, C. (2015). Peer status and aggression as predictors of dating popularity in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(3), 683–695.
Huesmann, L. R. (1988). An information processing model for the development of aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 14(1), 13–24.
Huesmann, L. R., & Guerra, N. G. (1997). Children’s normative beliefs about aggression and aggressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(2), 408–419.
Jakupcak, M., Lisak, D., & Roemer, L. (2002). The role of masculine ideology and masculine gender role stress in men’s perpetration of relationship violence. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 3, 97–106.
Jewkes, R., Flood, M., Lang J. (2014). From work with men an dboys to changes of social norms and reduction of inequities in gender relations: A conceptual shift in prevention of violence against women and girls. Lancet. Advance online publication. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25467578.
Jouriles, E. N., Rosenfield, D., McDonald, R., Kleinsasser, A. L., & Dodson, M. C. (2013). Explicit beliefs about aggression, implicit knowledge structures, and teen dating violence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41(5), 789–799.
Judge, T. A., & Livingston, B. A. (2008). Is the gap more than gender? A longitudinal analysis of gender, gender role orientation, and earnings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(5), 994–1012.
Lapinski, M. K., & Rimal, R. N. (2005). An explication of social norms. Communication Theory, 15(2), 127–147.
Lee, T. L., Fiske, S. T., Glick, P., & Chen, Z. (2010). Ambivalent sexism in close relationships: (Hostile) power and (benevolent) romance shape relationship ideals. Sex Roles, 62, 583–601.
Lundgren, R., & Amin, A. (2015). Addressing intimate partner violence and sexual violence among adolescents: Emerging evidence of effectiveness. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56, S42–S50.
Mahalik, J. R., Locke, B., Ludlow, L., Diemer, M., Scott, R. P. J., Gottfried, M., et al. (2003). Development of the conformity to masculine norms inventory. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 4, 3–25.
Martin-Storey, A. (2015). Prevalence of dating violence among sexual minority youth: Variation across gender, sexual minority identity and gender of sexual partners. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(1), 211–224.
McCauley, H. L., Tancredi, D. J., Silverman, J. G., Decker, M. R., Austin, S. B., McCormick, M. C., et al. (2013). Gender-equitable attitudes, bystander behavior, and recent abuse perpetration against heterosexual dating partners of male high school athletes. American Journal of Public Health, 13(10), 1882–1887.
McHugh, M., & Frieze, I. H. (1997). The measurement of gender-role attitudes: A review and commentary. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21(1), 1–16.
Miller, E., Tancredi, D. J., McCauley, H. L., Decker, M. R., Virata, M. C. D., Anderson, H. A., et al. (2011). “Coaching boys into men”: A cluster-randomized controlled trial of a dating violence prevention program. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(5), 431–438.
O’Leary, K. D., Slep, A. M., Avery-Leaf, S., & Cascardi, M. (2008). Gender differences in dating aggression among multiethnic high school students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42, 473–479.
Orpinas, P., Hsieh, H., Song, X., Holland, K., & Nahapetyan, L. (2013). Trajectories of physical dating violence from middle to high school: Association with relationship quality and acceptability of aggression. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 551–565.
Poteat, P. V., Kimmel, M. S., & Wilchins, R. (2010). The moderating effects of support for violence beliefs on masculine norms, aggression, and homophobic behavior during adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(2), 434–447.
Pulerwitz, J., & Barker, G. (2008). Measuring attitudes toward gender norms among young men in Brazil: Development and psychometric evaluation of the GEM Scale. Men and Masculinities, 10, 322–338.
Reed, E., Silverman, J. G., Raj, A., Decker, M. R., & Miller, E. (2011). Male perpetration of teen dating violence: Associations with neighborhood violence involvement, gender attitudes, and perceived peer and neighborhood norms. Journal of Urban Health, 88(2), 226–239.
Ridout, B., & Campbell, A. (2014). Using Facebook to deliver a social norm intervention to reduce problem drinking at university. Drug and Alcohol Review, 33(6), 667–673.
Rubin, D. B. (1987). Multiple imputation for nonresponse in surveys. New York: Wiley.
Santana, M. C., Raj, A., Decker, M. R., Marche, A., & Silverman, J. G. (2006). Masculine gender roles associated with increased sexual risk and intimate partner violence perpetration among young adult men. Journal of Urban Health, 83(4), 575–585.
SAS Institute. (2003). Statistical analysis software (SAS), version 9.2. Cary: SAS.
Sears, H. A., Byers, E. S., & Price, L. (2007). The co-occurrence of adolescent boys’ and girls’ use of psychologically, physically, and sexually abusive behaviors in their dating relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 30, 487–504.
Shen, A. C., Chiu, M. Y., & Gao, J. (2012). Predictors of dating violence among Chinese adolescents: The role of gender-role beliefs and justification of violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27(6), 1066–1089.
Smith, J. S., & Louis, W. R. (2008). Do as we say and as we do: The interplay of descriptive and injunctive group norms in the attitude-behavior relationship. British Journal of Social Psychology, 47, 647–666.
Stith, S. M., Smith, D. B., Penn, C., Ward, D., & Tritt, D. (2004). Intimate partner physical abuse perpetration and victimization risk factors: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10, 65–98.
Taylor, B. G., Stein, N. D., Mumford, E. A., & Woods, D. (2013). Shifting Boundaries: An experimental evaluation of a dating violence prevention program in middle schools. Prevention Science, 14, 64–76.
Tharp, A. T., Burton, T., Freire, K., Hall, D. M., Harrier, S., Latzman, N. E., et al. (2011). Dating matters™: Strategies to promote healthy teen relationships. Journal of Women’s Health, 20(12), 1761–1765.
Tharp, A. T., DeGue, S., Valle, L. A., Brookmeyer, K. A., Massetti, G. M., & Matjasko, J. L. (2013). A systematic qualitative review of risk and protective factors for sexual violence perpetration. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 14(2), 133–167.
Twenge, J. M. (1997). Attitudes toward women, 1970–1995: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 35–51.
Vagi, K. J., Rothman, E. F., Latzman, N. E., Tharp, A. T., Hall, D. M., & Breiding, M. J. (2013). Beyond correlates: A review of risk and protective factors for adolescent dating violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(4), 633–649.
World Health Organization (2009). Changing cultural and social norms supportive of violent behavior. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/norms.pdf
World Health Organization (2012). Understanding and addressing violence against women. Retrieved January 26, 2015, from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/77432/1/WHO_RHR_12.36_eng.pdf
This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement Number U81/CCU409964 and by an inter-personnel agency agreement (IPA) between Dr. Reyes and the CDC (13IPA130569) and between Dr. Foshee and the CDC (13IPA1303570). The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
HLMR conceived of the study, participated in the theoretical framing, design, measurement, and analytic plan, conducted statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript; VF designed and led the parent study, participated in the theoretical framing, design, measurement, and analytic plan, and helped draft and revise the manuscript; PHN participated in the theoretical framing, interpretation of the study, and helped draft and revise the manuscript; DR assisted in the interpretation of the study and helped draft and revise the manuscript; JH assisted in the interpretation of the study and helped draft and revise the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Reyes, H.L.M., Foshee, V.A., Niolon, P.H. et al. Gender Role Attitudes and Male Adolescent Dating Violence Perpetration: Normative Beliefs as Moderators. J Youth Adolescence 45, 350–360 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-015-0278-0
- Dating violence
- Gender role attitudes
- Normative beliefs