Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Grych, John H.

Second Advisor

Torres, Lucas

Third Advisor

Oswald, Debra

Abstract

Intimate partner violence continues to be a growing social concern associated with extensive physical, emotional, and financial consequences. Previous models of intimate partner violence have failed to recognize the role cultural components may play in the etiology of violence, specifically cultural values, the bi-dimensional process of acculturation, and sociodemographic variables. Prior research has shown these factors all contribute to women‟s perceptions of violence and such perceptions may impact the relationship between exposure and emotional outcomes. The present study examined how women‟s cultural background influences their perceptions of violence and subsequent adjustment. Eighty-six Latina women completed measures assessing cultural values, acculturation levels, attitudes regarding aggression, exposure to intimate partner violence, and psychological adjustment as well as semi-structured interviews assessing perceptions of violence in two vignettes. Analyses revealed a moderating effect of cultural values on the relationship between exposure to intimate partner aggression and perceptions of violence; however perceptions did not mediate the relation between violence exposure and subsequent adjustment. Cultural values specific to gender roles were more salient when considering perceptions of causation of violence, whereas global attitudes about aggression and dating aggression were more salient for women‟s perceptions of the acceptability and seriousness of violent behavior.

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