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Relationship Violence: The Role of Dynamic Relationship Processes

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Yasamin Kusunoki

Violence between intimate partners is a significant health problem and an important social issue among adolescents and young adults. Although past research has made significant contributions, due to several methodological and substantive limitations, we lack a clear understanding of the factors that place young people at risk of relationship violence. In particular, we know relatively little about the role of the characteristics of the specific relationship within which violence occurs and even less about the role of dynamic relationship processes. We propose new research to investigate a comprehensive set of risk factors for experiencing violence within intimate relationships during the transition to adulthood, with a focus on the relationship context. The specific aims of the project are to: (1) investigate the effects of individual-level factors on relationship violence; and (2) examine the effects of relationship-level factors on relationship violence. To meet these aims, we propose a study based on the analysis of existing data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study. These new and innovative data feature rich individual background information and prospective detailed weekly journal-based measures of relationships for a racially and socioeconomically diverse, population-based sample of 1,003 18- and 19-year-old women. The young women participated in a baseline face-to-face interview between 2008 and 2009 and then enrolled in a 2.5 year weekly journal in which they provided updates about their attitudes and behaviors related relationships, contraceptive use, and pregnancy. Our proposed analyses feature multilevel regression models, using weekly data on relationships. The findings from the proposed project will result in at least one high-quality publication. We also expect that this paper will help us secure NIH funding for planned future research on intimate partner violence using the RDSL data.

Funding Period: 03/01/2013 to 06/30/2014

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