Date of Conferral
Previous research has indicated few victims of dating violence seek help for abuse or violence experienced at the hands of a dating partner, a failure that has led to rising healthcare costs and unreported crime. Attachment theory and the social support network orientation model have been used in understanding differences in attachment style and help-seeking behavior among individuals seeking help for medical and psychological problems, but the differences in these variables among victims of dating violence have not been examined. The purpose of this quantitative web-based study was to examine differences in type of abuse or violence experienced, attachment style, and help-seeking behavior between collegiate male and female victims of dating violence in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. A sample of 149 collegiate males and females involved in heterosexual and same-sex relationships completed the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2), the Relationship Scales Questionnaire (RSQ), and the General Help Seeking Questionnaire (GHSQ)/Actual Help Seeking Questionnaire (AHSQ) to measure the effect of the independent variables, gender and sexual orientation, on the dependent variables, type of abuse or violence experienced, attachment style, and help-seeking behavior. The results of the MANOVA and chi-square analyses revealed: (a) no significant effect between one's gender and sexual orientation and type of abuse or violence experienced and style of attachment, (b) male and female victims of dating violence in same-sex relationships were less likely to seek help from formal sources than male and female victims in heterosexual relationships, and (c) type of actual help secured is independent of help-seeking behavior. The results of this study demonstrate a need for social change in the way victimization by dating violence is perceived and may aid helping professionals in developing culturally sensitive screening tools to identify and assist a population who might not otherwise seek help.