Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 139–151

The Relationship Behavior Networks of Young Adults: A Test of the Intergenerational Transmission of Violence Hypothesis

  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
  • Mark Hankla
  • Colleen Dostal Stormberg
Article

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine how negative relationship behaviors are structured in the semantic networks of young adults from violent versus nonviolent homes. Participants included 110 students (72 females and 38 males) from a large Midwestern university who were enrolled in an introductory psychology class. They completed a sorting task that involved relationship behavior stimuli. As hypothesized, differences were found in the composite sorting patterns, as represented by multidimensional scaling (MDS) solutions, for three different groups categorized by their family-of-origin violence history (i.e., nonvictimized by/did not witness parental violence, “None”; victimized only, “Victim”; and both witnessed/victimized, “Both”). Interpretations of the MDS solutions revealed different associations between violent and nonviolent conflict behaviors for victimized versus nonvictimized individuals, suggesting different semantic associations for conflict for individuals in the two groups. In a second set of analyses, separate solutions were generated for perpetrating and nonperpetrating individuals from violent families. Perpetrator and nonperpetrator solutions were also found to differ significantly. These findings suggest that relationship-specific semantic networks are associated with both past and current experiences with violence. One interpretation of these findings is that cognitive differences, generated in the family of origin, may serve to perpetuate a cycle of violence in subsequent romantic relationships.

family violence dating violence intergenerational transmission cognitions 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barling, J., O'Leary, K. D., Jouriles, E. N., Vivian, D., and MacEwen, K. E. (1987). Factor similarity of the Conflict Tactics Scales across samples, spouses, and sites: Issues and implications. J. Fam. Violence 2: 37-54.Google Scholar
  2. Baucom, D. H., Epstein, N., Sayers, S., and Sher, T. G. (1989). The role of cognitions in marital relationships: Definitional, methodological, and conceptual issues. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 57: 31-38.Google Scholar
  3. Benson, M. J., Arditti, J., Reguero de Atiles, J. T., and Smith, S. (1992). Intergenerational transmission: Attributions in relationships with parents and intimate others. J. Fam. Issues 13: 450-464.Google Scholar
  4. Bickett, L. R., Milich, R., and Brown, R. T. (1996). Attributional styles of aggressive boys and their mothers. J. Abnormal Child Psychol. 24: 457-472.Google Scholar
  5. Cantrell, P. J., MacIntyre, D. I., Sharkey, K. J., and Thompson, V. (1995). Violence in the marital dyad as a predictor of violence in the peer relationships of older adolescents/young adults. Violence Vict. 10: 35-41.Google Scholar
  6. Cliff, N. (1966). Orthogonal rotation to congruence. Psychometrika, 31: 33-42.Google Scholar
  7. Collins, A. M., and Loftus, E. F. (1975). A spreading–activation theory of semantic processing. Psychol. Rev. 82: 407-428.Google Scholar
  8. Coltheart, V., and Evans, J. S. B. T. (1981). An investigation of semantic memory in individuals. Memory Cognit. 9: 524-532.Google Scholar
  9. Crick, N. R., and Dodge, K. A. (1994). A review and reformation of social-information processing mechanisms in children's social adjustment. Psychol. Bull. 115: 74-101.Google Scholar
  10. Davison, G. C., Robins, C., and Johnson, M. K. (1983). Articulated thoughts during stimulated situations: A paradigm for studying cognition in emotion and behavior. Cognit. Ther. Res. 7:17-39.Google Scholar
  11. Dostal, C., and Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (1997). Relationship-specific cognitions and family-of-origin divorce and abuse. J. Divorce Remarr. 27: 101-120.Google Scholar
  12. Egeland, B. (1993). A history of abuse is a major risk factor for abusing the next generation. In Gelles, R. J., and Loseke, D. R. (eds.), Current Controversies on Family Violence, Sage, Newbury Park, pp. 197-208.Google Scholar
  13. Estes, W. K. (1991). Cognitive architectures from the standpoint of an experimental psychologist. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 42: 1-28.Google Scholar
  14. Fincham, F. D. (1994). Cognition in marriage: Current status and future challenges. Appl. Prev. Psychol. 3: 185-198.Google Scholar
  15. Fincham, F. D., Garnier, P. C., Gano-Phillis, S., and Osborne, L. N. (1995). Preinteraction expectations, marital satisfaction, and accessibility: A new look at sentiment override. J. Fam. Psychol. 9: 3-14.Google Scholar
  16. Fitzgerald, L. F., and Hubert, L. J. (1987). Multidimensional Scaling: Some possibilities for Counseling Psychology. J. Counsel. Psychol. 34: 469-480.Google Scholar
  17. Garbin, C. P., and Bernstein, I. H. (1984). Visual and haptic perception of three-dimensional solids. Perception and Psychophysics 3: 104-110.Google Scholar
  18. Jacobson, N. S., and Margolin, G. (1979). Marital Therapy: Strategies Based on Social Learning and Behavior Exchange Principles, Brunner/Mazel, New York.Google Scholar
  19. Kistenmacher, B., and Weiss, R. L. (1996, November). Demand/ Withdraw Patterns in Couples: A Relationship Orientation Perspective. Poster presented at the 30th annual meeting for the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  20. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., and Dostal, C. (1997). Retrospective reports of family of origin divorce and abuse and college students' pre-parenthood cognitions. J. Fam. Violence 11: 331-346.Google Scholar
  21. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Larsen, A. E., and Jacobs, J. E. (1997). Retrospective reports of the family of origin environment and the transition to college. J. Coll. Stud. Devel. 38: 49-61.Google Scholar
  22. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Neidig, P., and Thorn, G. (1995). Violent marriages: Gender differences in levels of current violence and past abuse. J. Fam. Violence 10: 159-176.Google Scholar
  23. Lochman, J. E., and Dodge, K. A. (1994). Social-cognitive processes of severely violent, moderately aggressive, and nonaggressive boys. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 62: 366-374.Google Scholar
  24. Matlin, M. W. (1994). Cognition, Harcourt Brace, Fort Worth.Google Scholar
  25. Miller, G. E., and Bradbury, T. N. (1995). Refining the association between attributions and behavior in marital interaction. J. Fam. Psychol. 9: 196-208.Google Scholar
  26. Rather, B. C., and Goldman, M. S. (1994). Drinking-related differences in the memory organization of alcohol expectancies. Exp. Clin. Psychopharmacol. 2: 167-183.Google Scholar
  27. Rather, B. C., Goldman, M. S., Roehrich, L., and Brannick, M. (1992). Empirical modeling of an alcohol expectancy memory network using multidimensional scaling. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 101: 174-183.Google Scholar
  28. Roberts, L. J., and Leonard, K. E. (1996, November). Spousal Perceptions of Withdrawal Behaviors in the Longitudinal Prediction of Marital Adjustment and Stability. Poster presented at the 30th Annual Meeting for the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, New York, NY.Google Scholar
  29. Rosenberg, S., Nelson, C., and Vivekananthan, P. S. (1968). A multidimensional approach to the structure of personality impressions. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 9: 283-294.Google Scholar
  30. Sayers, S. L., and Baucom, D. H. (1995). Multidimensional scaling of spouses' attributions for marital conflicts. Cognit. Ther. Res. 19: 667-693.Google Scholar
  31. Schiffman, S. S., Reynolds, M. L., and Young, F. W. (1981). Introduction to Multidimensional Scaling, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  32. Schvaneveldt, R. W., and Durso, F. T. (1981, November). Generalized Semantic Networks. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  33. Stamp, G. H., and Sabourin, T. C. (1995). Accounting for male violence: An analysis of male spousal abuse narratives. J. Appl. Commun. Res. 23: 284-307.Google Scholar
  34. Stith, S. M., Rosen, K. H., Middleton, K. A., Busch, A. L., Lundeberg, K., and Carlton, R. P. (1997, July). The Intergenerational Transmission of Spouse Abuse: A Meta-Analysis. Paper presented at the 5th International Family Violence Conference, Durham, NH.Google Scholar
  35. Straus, M. A. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The Conflict Tactics Scales. J. Marr. Fam. 41: 75-86.Google Scholar
  36. Turgeon, L., Julien, D., and Dion, E. (1996, November). Is the Pursuit/Withdrawal Pattern of Interaction Specific to Distressed Couples? Poster presented at the 30th Annual Meeting for the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  37. Weiss, R. L. (1978). The conceptualization of marriage from a behavioral perspective. In Paolino, T. J., Jr., and McCrady, B. S. (eds.), Marriage and Marriage Therapy: Psychoanalytic Behavioral and Systems Theory Perspectives, Brunner/Mazel, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Widom, C. S. (1989). The cycle of violence. Science 244: 160-166.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mark Hankla
    • 2
  • Colleen Dostal Stormberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of South AlabamaMobile
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Nebraska—LincolnLincoln

Personalised recommendations