Aggression begets aggression: Psychological dating aggression perpetration in young adults from the perspective of intergenerational transmission of violence

Toplu-Demirtas E., Hatipoglu-Sumer Z.

CURRENT PSYCHOLOGY, vol.42, no.14, pp.11539-11551, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 14
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12144-021-02461-5
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)
  • Page Numbers: pp.11539-11551
  • Keywords: Witnessing interparental psychological aggression, Acceptance of psychological aggression, Psychological dating aggression perpetration, Gender, Young adults, INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE, WITNESSING INTERPARENTAL VIOLENCE, FAMILY-OF-ORIGIN, PHYSICAL AGGRESSION, ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS, COURTSHIP VIOLENCE, VERBAL AGGRESSION, EMOTIONAL ABUSE, PERCEPTIONS, DEPRESSION
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of this study was threefold: (1) to evaluate the factorial validity of the Psychological Aggression (PA) subscale of the Conflict Tactics Scales-Adult Recall version (CTS2-CA), (2) to investigate the prevalence of and gender differences in psychological dating aggression perpetration (PDAP; restrictive engulfment, denigration, hostile withdrawal, and dominance/intimidation), and (3) to explore a proposed path from witnessing interparental psychological aggression perpetration to PDAP via acceptance of psychological aggression as a mediator and gender as a moderator of the mediation. For the first purpose, college students (N = 275) completed father to mother and mother to father forms of the PA subscale of the CTS2-CA. Exploratory factor analyses yielded a single-factor solution for the father to mother (55.86% of the variance) and mother to father (49.12% of the variance) forms. For the second and third purposes, a separate sample of 1015 dating college students (69.6% women) completed the Multidimensional Measure of Emotional Abuse and Abuse subscale of the Intimate Partner Violence Attitude Scale-Revised, along with the PA subscale of the CTS2-CA. Gender differences emerged in the prevalence of restrictive engulfment (85.8% for women and 80.3% for men) and hostile withdrawal (96.3% for women and 91.1% for men). Moderated-mediation analyses revealed that women college students who witnessed more mother to father psychological aggression perpetration tended to hold more accepting attitudes towards psychological aggression and, in turn, perpetrated more psychological aggression against their partners. Common assumptions that boys are more likely to imitate fathers, whereas girls are more likely to imitate mothers and women [but not men] commit verbal aggression may together explain our findings from the perspective of the intergenerational transmission of violence hypothesis. For future research, we suggest investigating the proposed model with the experience of psychological aggression from the parents to the child, which may provide further insights.