Young adult college students’ partner abuse experiences: Perceived couple relationship dynamics and abuse typology.
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Risk for experiencing partner abuse (PA) is high during young adulthood. National estimates of the prevalence of PA among young adults and scholarly literature on the enduring impact of PA highlight the importance of understanding this public health issue. Extant literature has primarily focused on individual risk factors for PA, with much less known about couple relationship dynamics, or the specific typologies of violence these characteristics are associated with. This study used data collected nationally from 3,555 young adult college students living in the U.S. to examine experiences of PA. The purpose of this dissertation study was to (a) provide descriptive information about young adult college students’ experiences of couple relationship dynamics and PA and (b) examine how college students’ individual characteristics, relationship characteristics, and perceived couple relationship dynamics were associated with typologies and forms of PA for males and females. Data were analyzed using univariate, bivariate analyses, and multinomial logistic regressions. Study findings revealed that (a) the individual and relationship characteristics as well as violence experiences of young adults comprising this sample are representative of the characteristics and violence experiences of those identified with other samples of young adult college students living in the US; (b) perceived couple relationship dynamics were differentially related to the main effects of gender, age, year in school, relationship type, relationship duration, and cohabitation status; (c) when controlling for gender, age, and year in school perceived couple relationship dynamic scores varied by the interaction of severity of psychological aggression experienced and perpetrated; (d) perceived couple relationship dynamic scores were differentially related to severity of physical and sexual violence experienced; (e) there are unique characteristics associated with experiences of perpetration-only, victimization-only, and bidirectional violence; (f) there are a number of individual and relationship characteristics and perceived couple relationship dynamic scores that increase the odds of engaging in bidirectional violence for male and female young adult college students in the present study; (g) there are few variables in this model that increase the odds of females being perpetrators-only; and (h) there are few variables in this model that increase odds of males being victims-only.