Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Dionne Stephens

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Asia Eaton

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Leslie Frazier

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Maureen Kenny

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


Psychological aggression, intimate partner violence, gender roles, attitudes

Date of Defense



Psychological aggression is present in as many as 89-97% of college women’s intimate relationships (Cercone, Beach, & Arias, 2005; Riggs & O’Leary, 1996). Victimization has been linked to negative physical and mental health consequences including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain (Coker, Smith, Bethea, King, & McKeown, 2000; Derrick, Testa, & Leonard, 2014; Pico-Alfonso et al., 2006). Psychological aggression also serves as a risk factor for future or continued physical intimate partner violence (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014), which can result in bruises, broken bones, or in extreme cases, even death. Parental modeling of appropriate relationship behaviors may be an important factor in young adult women’s learning how to behave in their own intimate relationships. Studies have produced mixed results when assessing the role of engendered cultural influences on this phenomenon, with many reporting that women holding traditional gender role beliefs are at an increased risk for experiencing relationship aggression (Brownridge, 2002; CDC, 2014; Eaton & Matamala, 2014; Fitzpatrick, Salgado, Suvak, King, & King, 2004). The current dissertation seeks to investigate the roles of traditional, culturally informed gender role beliefs in the intergenerational modeling of psychological aggression in Hispanic college women’s intimate relationships. A total of 687 students from a large Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the southeastern United States participated in this study. The results of Study 1 showed that parental use of psychological aggression and participants’ beliefs consistent with caballerismo influenced Hispanic college women’s victimization in their intimate relationships. The results of Study 2 indicated that parental use of psychological aggression, participants’ beliefs consistent with marianismo, and participants’ beliefs sanctioning their own use of psychological aggression toward their boyfriends significantly influenced Hispanic college women’s perpetration of this type of aggression in their intimate relationships. The findings from this dissertation are important as few studies have examined intimate partner violence or conflict strategies in Hispanic college populations, despite the fact that they constitute the largest group of ethnic minority women on campuses today (Fry, 2011). Further, they contribute to our ability to effectively critique traditional gender beliefs used to examine Hispanic women’s behavioral and psychological outcomes.





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