From Family Violence to Dating Violence: Testing a Dual Pathway Model

Academic Article


  • Risk factors for adolescent perpetration of or victimization by dating violence stem from different levels of adolescents’ social ecologies, including the family, individual, and peer domains. However, these multiple risk factors have not been fully integrated into a single comprehensive model of dating violence development. The present study examined prospective links between exposure to family violence in pre-adolescence; pro-violent beliefs, aggression, deviant peer affiliation, and aggression toward opposite-sex peers in early adolescence and dating violence in late adolescence. Using a longitudinal study of 461 youth (51 % female; 80 % African American, 19 % Caucasian, 1 % other ethnicities), path modeling evaluated a theoretically developed dual pathway model involving a general violence pathway and an early romantic aggression pathway. Each pathway links exposure to family violence in pre-adolescence with early adolescent pro-violent beliefs and/or aggressive behavior. In both pathways, pro-violent beliefs may reinforce aggressive behaviors between same-sex and opposite-sex peers, as well as strengthen bonds with deviant peers. In the last part of both pathways, aggressive behavior and peer deviance in early adolescence may contribute directly to late adolescent dating violence perpetration and victimization. The findings provided support for both pathways, as well as sex differences in the model.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Morris AM; Mrug S; Windle M
  • Start Page

  • 1819
  • End Page

  • 1835
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 9