Factors associated with patterns of dating violence toward college women

Diane R. Follingstad, Larry L. Rutledge, Darlene S. Polek, Kay McNeill-Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


This study hypothesized that female victims of force in dating relationships are erroneously considered a homogeneous group. Various patterns of dating violence, along the lines of frequency and severity, were hypothesized to be related to attitudinal and behavioral factors of the women in the dating relationship. Analyses of 48 female victims at a university campus revealed a number of differences between women with only one incident of force and women who were recipients of ongoing force. Females with ongoing violence were more likely to allow controlling behaviors by a male, had more controlling behaviors occur toward them generally in dating relationships, reported higher levels of commitment and love toward a romantic partner, and experienced a higher frequency of controlling behaviors in the actual relationship where physical force occurred. Females with ongoing violence in which the abuse lasted for a longer period of time were less likely to end the relationship due to the occurrence of abuse. Earlier onset of the first physical incident in a dating relationship was related to more traditional attitudes toward women's roles, more likelihood of using justifications for abuse, romanticizing relationships, and a likelihood of endorsing stronger attitudes of love in these female victims than when onset occurred later for other women. Women who ended the relationship because of physical force experienced more controlling behaviors by the male in the relationship than women who did not end the relationship for that reason. Further research needs to investigate the decision-making processes and interpretations of the females involved regarding the presence of abuse in the dating relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1988


  • college women
  • dating violence
  • patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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