The Effects of Relationship Education on Adolescent Traditional Gender Role Attitudes and Dating Violence Acceptance
This study examined change in adolescents’ traditional gender role attitudes and dating violence acceptance following completion of a relationship education program. Using data from a larger study evaluating the effects of relationship education for adolescents, beliefs and attitudes were assessed among a diverse sample of 627 youth. Gender differences in changes from pre- to post-test were also examined. Results of repeated measures MANCOVAs revealed a time X gender interaction effect for change in traditional gender role attitudes following relationship education. A significant decrease in traditional gender role attitudes was found for both boys and girls following relationship education, with a steeper decline in traditional gender role attitudes for boys than girls over time. Although there were no significant changes in dating violence acceptance, change in traditional gender role attitudes was correlated with change in dating violence acceptance, such that moving toward more egalitarian attitudes was associated with a decrease in acceptance of dating aggression/violence. Overall, results suggest that adolescents’ attitudes about gender roles and dating violence are open to change when provided relationship education, and changes in these beliefs are linked. Findings from this study have implications for promoting healthy relationships among youth.
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