Purpose Existing literature indicates that acceptance of dating violence is a significant and robust risk factor for psychological dating abuse perpetration. Past work also indicates a significant relationship between psychological dating abuse perpetration and poor mental health. However, no known research has examined the relationship between acceptance of dating violence, perpetration of dating abuse, and mental health. In addition to exploring this complex relationship, the present study examines whether psychological abuse perpetration mediates the relationship between acceptance of dating violence and mental health (i.e., internalizing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and hostility). Methods Three waves of longitudinal data were obtained from 1,042 ethnically diverse high school students in Texas. Participants completed assessments of psychological dating abuse perpetration, acceptance of dating violence, and internalizing symptoms (hostility and symptoms of anxiety and depression). Results As predicted, results indicated that perpetration of psychological abuse was significantly associated with acceptance of dating violence and all internalizing symptoms. Furthermore, psychological abuse mediated the relationship between acceptance of dating violence and internalizing symptoms. Conclusions Findings from the present study suggest that acceptance of dating violence is an important target for the prevention of dating violence and related emotional distress.
- Dating violence
- Mental health
- Psychological abuse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health