Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-12-2010


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Sociology, Under the Supervision of Professor Kimberly A. Tyler. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2010

Copyright (c) 2010 Lisa Melander


Intimate partner violence is prevalent in contemporary society and certain groups of individuals such as college students are particularly at high risk for becoming involved in aggressive relationships. Despite the detailed body of literature that examines the risk factors for in-person partner violence, researchers have been criticized for their lack of attention to other behaviors that may be considered abusive. One new area of research is cyber aggression, which refers to the use of newer forms of technology (e.g., cell phones and computers) to facilitate repeated harassing behavior with the intention of harming others. Few scholars, however, examine these behaviors among young adult samples or note the relationship between the perpetrator and victim. Because of the dearth of literature on cyber aggression among current and former intimate partners, a mixed methods research design was used to explore this topic using the routine activities theoretical perspective among male and female undergraduate students at a mid-sized Midwestern university. The purpose of this study was to use focus group data to explore participant views on cyber aggression among college intimates in order to develop a survey instrument. Additionally, quantitative analyses were used to examine the correlates of partner cyber aggression. The theoretical and policy implications of the qualitative and quantitative findings were discussed.

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