Sociology, Department of


First Advisor

Helen A. Moore

Second Advisor

Julia McQuillan

Date of this Version



Masters thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2013.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Sociology, Under the Supervision of Professor Helen A. Moore and Professor Julia McQuillan. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Renita Robinson. Used by permission.


Children’s exposure to violence is a serious social problem, but little is known about the educational implications for adolescents witnessing violence between parents. This study uses social learning theory (SLT) to examine the relationship between high school-aged adolescent students who witness parental intimate partner violence (IPV) and academic performance demonstrated by their grade point averages (GPA). A secondary analysis of data collected from the survey of 1,132 adolescent students in a medium sized, suburban/rural city was conducted. Of the respondents, 83% of the students did not witness parental IPV between parents. Students witnessing the most parental IPV had the lowest GPAs. The multiple regression analyses of GPA included measures of substance abuse, truancy, aggression and witnessing parental IPV, with controls for age, gender, race, and family income. Witnessing parental IPV is significantly associated with lower GPA after controlling for age, gender, race and family income. However, IPV becomes non-significant when mediating factors of substance abuse, truancy, aggression and IPV are added.

Advisers: Helen A. Moore and Julia McQuillan