Attitudes about violence in intimate partner relationships

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This study sought to understand the nature of dating violence experienced by young women attending college in India. Since this is one of the first studies looking at the phenomenon of dating violence among female college students in India, I collected data from a convenience sample of undergraduate women in an urban city in Southern India (Hyderabad). I distributed a questionnaire to these students to learn about their dating experiences and about factors which I hypothesized to be related to their likelihood of being involved in violent dating relationships. Participants and Selection Process The sample for this study comprised 500 female undergraduate students above the age of eighteen studying in a commuter college in Hyderabad, India. Though a Catholic institution, the majority of the students at this college are Hindu. Christian students form the next largest segment followed by students from other religions like Islam, Sikhism,and Buddhism. The participants at the time of the study were working on their undergraduate degree in one of the following three academic departments: Arts,Commerce or Science. The sample was a convenience sample of students who voluntarily agreed to complete the survey packet distributed by the researcher. Fifty to a hundred students were asked to complete the survey at a time over three consecutive days to reach the desired sample size of 500 students


Before conducting the study the researcher met with the Principal of the college to discuss the nature and purpose of the study. After receiving permission to conduct the study, the researcher met with professors and lecturers from the different departments to discuss the requirements to administer the study. All professors agreed to have the survey distributed during their class time for which the students would be given attendance credit. The answers for the survey were filled in scantron sheets. All participants were given an orientation before the questionnaires were handed out to them. The orientation included a brief description of the nature, scope, purpose and importance of the study, role of the participants, their choice not to participate, issues related to participant confidentiality and the resources to contact in any case where the participants felt the need to talk to someone about their thoughts or feelings as a result of answering questions in the survey. They were also informed about the importance of this study to both, young women in general (public policy formulation, development of interventions and educational programs) and to them in particular (increase their awareness). IRB approved this study with an “IRB Exempt Approval” status therefore the use of an informed consent form was not required. Next, the questionnaire (see Appendix A) along with the scantron sheets were handed to students willing to participate. Once completed, the questionnaires were collected and placed in envelopes that were sealed to preserve confidentiality. Each set of questionnaires were reviewed to make sure all information was correctly completed. The scantron sheets were brought back to Virginia Tech, Northern Virginia Center and sent to the Test Scoring Services at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg for data entry. The surveys were scanned and the data saved electronically. The data was sent back to the researcher for data cleansing and analysis through email.Approximately 500 surveys were distributed, of which, all students completed and returned the surveys to the researcher. Only 454 of these surveys were used in this study because 46 surveys had large sections missing and could not be included in the study

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The measures used in this study include the following: demographic questions; questions related to whether the participant witnessed and/or experienced violence in her family of
origin; questions designed for this study looking at culture based perceptions and attitudes related to intimate partner violence, The Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI) (White & Labouvie, 1989); The Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, Hamby, BoneyMcCoy, & Sugarman, 1996), The Inventory of Beliefs about Wife Beating (Saunders,Lynch, Grayson, & Linz, 1987) and the Anger Management Scale (Stith & Hamby, 2002)


The researcher asked eleven demographic questions related to the participant’s year of undergraduate study, age, religion, parents’ education levels, family income level,participant dating relationship status and other questions related to the nature of their dating relationship (see Appendix A, Q.1-6; p.2 and Q.89-94-47; p.8-9). Questions related to the participant’s dating relationship status ranged between “I am currently with a boyfriend/ partner that has lasted at least one month” to “I have never been in a relationship with a boyfriend”. Questions in the survey that related to the nature of dating relationship of participants included: “Are you living with your boyfriend/ partner?” (the response choices were “Yes” or “No”); “What is your relationship with your boyfriend/ Partner?” (the response choices included “Dating”, “Engaged”, “Married”) “How long have you been in this relationship? How long did the most recent relationship last?” (the response choices ranged from “less than one month” to “four years or more”); “How long ago did this relationship end?” (the response choices ranged from “it has not ended” to “more than 2 years ago”) and “Is (was) sexual intercourse a part of your relationship?” (the response choices were “Yes” or “No”)

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The Problem and its Setting 
Significance and Rationale for the Study 
Purpose of the Study 
Research Questions 
Theoretical Framework 
Feminist Theory 
The Ecological Model 
Background on Culture, Domestic Violence and Dating Violence in India 
Dating Violence 
Demographic Variables 
Attitudes about violence in intimate partner relationships 
History of Witnessing or Experiencing Abuse 
Problems with Alcohol 
Anger Management Skills 
Participants and Selection Process 
Witnessing or experiencing violence in childhood 
The Inventory of Beliefs about Wife Beating
The Revised Conflicts Tactics Scale 
The Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index 
Anger Management Scale 
Organization of the Survey 
Data Analysis 
Wife Beating is Justified 
Experience of Violence 
Correlates of Perpetration and Victimization
Limitations of the Study 
Clinical Implications 
Future Research and Policy Implications 
Curriculum Vitae 


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