Sociology, Department of


Protective Factors Against Dating Violence Perpetration and Victimization

Meagan Kunitzer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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 Kimberly A. Tyler. Lincoln, Nebraska: February 2021

Copyright 2021 Meagan Kunitzer


Dating violence is a prominent problem among college students that can result in harmful physical and mental health outcomes. To date, much research has focused on risk factors, but less is known about protective factors that may decrease the likelihood of dating violence. As such, the current paper examines protective factors (e.g. religion, positive parental relationships) against perpetrating and/or experiencing dating violence and whether these protective factors operate similarly for both perpetration and victimization. Data were gathered in 2013-2014 at two large public universities using pencil and paper surveys (N = 1482). Bivariate results revealed that women have more protective factors than men. Multivariate results showed that religious attendance, lower entitlement, more positive maternal relationship quality, and having more close friends with lower rates of drinking were all protective against dating violence perpetration and victimization. Additionally, lower respondent drinking was also protective against both dating violence perpetration and victimization. These findings highlight the importance of positive friendships as protective factors against dating violence victimization and perpetration. Finally, current study findings also emphasize that abstaining from alcohol is protective against dating violence victimization and perpetration.

Advisor: Kimberly A. Tyler