Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Teen Dating Violence Perpetration among Middle School Youth: The Role of Bullying, Sexual Harassment, and Gender
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Although teen dating violence (TDV) has been associated with bullying and sexual harassment, the developmental relationship among all three behaviors has rarely been examined, especially by gender. This dissertation used structural equation modeling to investigate the temporal sequence among perpetration of bullying, sexual harassment, and dating violence, and to determine if the sequence varies by gender. Study Aim 1first determined if the aggression measures were invariant for girls and boys. Study Aim 2a then tested whether sexual harassment perpetration mediates the relationship between bullying perpetration and TDV perpetration, while Study Aim 2b tested moderated mediation by assessing whether the developmental pathway varies by gender among middle school-aged youth. The data were collected from one cohort of 7th grade middle school students. Students were surveyed every 6 months during 7th and 8th grades for a total of four waves of data collection. Study Aim 1 was assessed using baseline (wave 1) data, whereas Study Aims 2a and 2b were assessed using data from waves 1 through 3. The first study examined measurement invariance by gender of all aggression measures: perpetration of bullying, sexual harassment, physical TDV, psychological TDV, and electronic TDV. Both the physical and psychological TDV perpetration measures and the sexual harassment measure achieved strict measurement invariance. Bullying perpetration demonstrated the next most stringent test of measurement invariance by gender, partial strict invariance. Electronic TDV achieved the next most stringent test of invariance by gender, metric/scalar invariance. The second study tested whether sexual harassment perpetration mediates the relationship between bullying perpetration and TDV perpetration (2a), and then tested moderated mediation by assessing whether the developmental pathway varies by gender (2b). Results indicate no evidence of mediation. However, in the overall model, bullying and sexual harassment both emerged as significant predictors of TDV at a later time point. Among girls, only bullying significantly predicted TDV at a later time point, and, among boys, only sexual harassment significantly predicted TDV at a later time point. Prevention programs that target bullying and sexual harassment perpetration may reduce later perpetration of TDV. Further research is needed to disentangle the temporal relationships between these aggressive behaviors among youth.