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Commitment and Acceptance of Relationship Violence

By: Jennifer Harrison
Mentor: Dr. Jana Jasinski

Abstract

Dating violence is often thought of as a precursor for spousal abuse and that understanding is beneficial. However, according to Makepeace (1981), all the reasons that married individuals give for remaining in violent relationships do not apply to courtship relationships, thus inspiring the question as to why do individuals in dating relationships remain in abusive relationships. Emotional commitment has been a prominent response and has been found to play a powerful role in the individual's acceptance of violence and the outcome of the relationship (Arriaga, 2002). For this reason, it is believed that individuals in committed relationships will be more accepting of violence in a relationship than those who are not in committed relationships. This study is particularly applicable to college students because the potential impact of these findings could provide greater prevention of violence as well as increased knowledge about domestic violence. Data collection was done by means of distributing 300 group-administered surveys to students in classes at the University of Central Florida (UCF) main campus. UCF Victim Services information was given as a resource on the consent form to protect human subjects, that is, those who were 18 years or older. Modified versions of established scales were used to add to the reliability of the measures. Findings indicated that as the level of commitment increases, the acceptability of violence decreases.

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