Moral disengagement, empathy, and bidirectional intimate partner violence in young adulthood: A short-term longitudinal study

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Authors
Rosebraugh, Elissa
Issue Date
2023-07
Type
Dissertation
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en_US
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Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant issue in the United States, with emerging research emphasizing its bidirectional nature. Longitudinal studies demonstrate that bidirectional intimate partner violence (BIPV) tends to persist or escalate in severity over time, necessitating an understanding of the underlying factors contributing to this phenomenon. Recent research suggests that moral disengagement (MD) and empathy may offer useful insights into the cognitive mechanisms driving BIPV. The main objective of my dissertation is to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between BIPV, empathy, and MD among college students. This study aimed to explore the relationship between these constructs and uncover potential changes over time. Data was collected through a two-wave online survey with a six-month time lag with a sample of 368 undergraduate students at Time 1 and 128 participants at Time 2. Results indicated initial construct validity for the IPV-specific MD measure based on significant convergent and divergent associations. Additionally, BIPV and MD were found to be cross-sectionally related. However, evidence was not found for BIPV at Time 1 leading to increased MD at Time 2. Neither affective nor cognitive empathy moderated the relationship between BIPV and MD, although cognitive empathy was found to be cross-sectionally related to BIPV at Time 1. This study contributes to the growing body of research on MD and IPV by providing initial evidence of the relationship between MD, cognitive empathy, and BIPV. Addressing limitations within this study such as sample homogeneity and recruitment and retention obstacles, future studies should continue to validate the novel MD measure and examine the prospective relationships between BIPV, MD, and empathy. By advancing our understanding of these complex relationships, effective strategies in preventing and intervening in BIPV can be developed, ultimately reducing its prevalence and impact.

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Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology
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Wichita State University
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© Copyright 2023 by Elissa Rosebraugh All Rights Reserved
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