What Helps and Hinders Students’ Intervening in Incidents of Dating Violence On Campus? an Exploratory Study Using Focus Groups

Julia Cusano, Leila Wood, Julia O’Connor, Sarah McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dating violence is a problem occurring on college campuses that requires unique prevention and intervention needs. Despite the widespread prevalence and pervasive impact of dating violence victimization, formal disclosure and utilization of on-campus support services for student survivors remain low and often survivors who do tell someone disclose to an informal source of support, most often a friend. Many current educational efforts on college campuses regarding dating violence, including bystander intervention programming, fail to increase students’ understanding of how to safely address a situation where a peer is experiencing an abusive relationship or to provide students with information about their role as potential responders to disclosures of violence from friends. In the present exploratory study, a series of qualitative focus groups were conducted to better understand students’ perspectives on dating violence on campus. Data were analyzed according to processes of thematic analysis to examine how students’ understanding and knowledge of dating violence impact their decision about whether to intervene as prosocial bystanders within their social networks using focus groups. Emergent findings reveal that students undergo a multistage process of intervening that relies heavily on their existing knowledge and attitudes toward dating violence. The findings from this article are consistent with Banyard’s Action Coils model. Suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • dating violence
  • disclosure of domestic violence
  • domestic violence
  • intervention/treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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