Recognizing Warning Signs of Dating Violence: The Contributions of Gender Role Orientation and Hypergender Constructs

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This study advanced knowledge regarding dating violence by examining factors related to attitudes towards dating violence as well as the less investigated ability to recognize early warning signs of dating violence using a sample of college women and men. Specifically, this study explored the contributions of expressivity and instrumentality as well as hyperfemininity and hypermasculinity in predicting college students’ attitudes toward dating violence and their ability to recognize risk of dating abuse after controlling for prior education about and experience with dating violence. Four hundred and thirty-three heterosexual, unmarried, undergraduate women and 108 heterosexual, unmarried, undergraduate men between the ages of 18 and 22 completed the study. For women, hyperfemininity was associated with less acceptance of dating violence and better risk recognition. For men, hypermasculinity was the strongest predictor of acceptance of dating violence and inability to recognize warning signs of dating violence. These findings can be used to inform future interventions to reduce dating violence among college students.