Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Counselor Education and Supervision

Advisor

Melinda Haley

Abstract

Teen dating violence is more prevalent among African Americans than any other racial group in the United States leading to serious health consequences for victims. However, limited data exists on how African American adolescents' attitudes and perceptions regarding dating violence are formed, and whether they are influenced by family members. The purpose of this nonexperimental correlational study was to determine whether nonverbal or verbal communication from family members predicted adolescents' attitudes and perceptions toward dating violence. Survey data from 84 African American men and women ages 18 to 24 were collected using the Normative Beliefs About Aggression Scale, the Acceptance of Couple Violence Scale, the Revised Family Communication Patterns Questionnaire, and a demographic questionnaire. Although past studies have shown that communication related to dating violence is important because it is essential to adolescents understanding and finding ways of coping with violence, this study could not confirm that conversation orientation, conformity orientation, discussion of dating violence, conversation types, facial expressions, hand gestures, and direct verbal communication were significant predictors of approval of aggression. In future research, conducting a mixed methods study or using a larger age range could provide more understanding about adolescents' attitudes and perceptions related to dating violence. Additionally, research on behaviors outside of the modes of communication measured in this study, is warranted. This study contributes to social change by helping to fill a gap in the research literature pertaining to African American teen dating violence and attitudes toward approval of aggression. Future researchers can use the results of this study to help formulate new research on this topic.