Date of Conferral





Public Health


Bernice Kennedy


Intimate partner abuse has been and remains a pervasive problem that has been documented in every race, religion, class, and level of education. This study presented the rationale for achieving positive social change by examining the problem through prevention rather than reaction and intervention. Although many theories of causation have been presented at various times, none has been proven or offers a complete explanation. Social ecological theory examines the interaction of individual, community, relational, and societal influences on the development of attitudes and behavior acceptance. This pre and post-survey group, quasi-experimental study examined the effects of an intervention on attitudes about intimate partner abuse, specifically in young adults. The intervention was a 30-minute drama about dating abuse. Seventy-nine young adults from an online participant pool completed the Domestic Violence Myth Acceptance Scale (DVMAS) just prior to and after the intervention. Cronbach's alpha test of reliability was conducted on the 4 subscales of the DVMAS. Demographic data were presented on age, marital status, gender, and church attendance. A MANOVA did not demonstrate a significant difference between the overall scores on the DVMAS or the 4 sub scales before and after the intervention (p = .230). This research contributes to social change by adding to the body of knowledge about applications of social ecological theory to intimate partner abuse prevention. Attitudes and behaviors that lead to the perpetration or acceptance of intimate partner abuse do not arise from a single incident, discussion, or point in time. Multiple levels of exposures and multiple exposures contribute to the behavior and ultimately will be necessary for its prevention.