The Ecology of Adolescent Dating Aggression: Attitudes, Relationships, Media Use, and Socio-Demographic Risk Factors
Using an ecological systems perspective, these authors explored how risks across multiple contexts (individual, relationship, sociocultural or popular media, socio-demographic) collectively contribute to dating aggression. A total of 627 Canadian adolescents (297 boys, 330 girls) with romantic partners were evaluated longitudinally over a 1-year period. Two cumulative risk models, linear and threshold, were tested. Results indicate that risks at all ecological levels are predictive of dating aggression, and identify aggressive media use as part of the contextual risk pattern, especially among ethnic minority youth. They also suggest that violence-tolerant attitudes mediate the link, such that the media makes adolescents more tolerant of aggression and this, in turn, increases their likelihood of acting aggressively. Overall, the findings support the view that it is the accumulation of multiple risks across contexts that is critical in predicting aggression in relationships rather than specific risks in the overall constellation. Modified Author Abstract.