Online Program

Associations of partner emotional abuse and sex role attitudes among college students aged 18-25

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Shandowyn L. Parker, PhD, MPH, Department of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI
Vicki Johnson-Lawrence, MS, PhD, Public Health & Health Sciences, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI
Christen Adams, MS, Office of Research, Genesys Regional Medical Center, Grand Blanc, MI
The sex roles taken on by people engaged in heterosexual relationships are largely influenced by their emotional relationships.  Members of emotionally abusive relationships may be more likely to report traditional sex role attitudes, but evidence of this association is limited.  This cross-sectional study examines racial and gender differences in associations between partner emotional abuse and sex role attitudes among a college student sample (n=291) in Flint, Michigan who responded to an online survey.  Emotional abuse was characterized by two subscales- isolation (14 items; α = 0.92) and degradation (21 items; α = 0.94).  Sex role attitudes were captured using a 10-item scale (α = 0.81).  The predominantly female sample (75.3%) was 63.9% Caucasian, 18.9% African American, and 17.2% other racial/ethnic groups.  Overall isolation (p=0.08) and degradation (p=0.08) emotional abuse was higher for men than women, but comparable across racial/ethnic groups.  Sex role attitudes were comparable for men and women (p=0.38), but more traditional attitudes were identified for African Americans than Caucasians (p<0.01) and other racial/ethnic groups (p=0.05).   Results of our multivariable linear regression model suggested African Americans (b=-4.26, SE=1.04, p<0.01) had more traditional sex role attitudes than Caucasians, and higher degradation (b=-0.13, SE=0.05, p<0.01) and isolation were associated with less traditional sex role scores (b=-0.23, SE=0.06, p<0.01).  Future research should continue to investigate the perceived role of partner emotional abuse among college students.  Health education efforts should continue to create awareness of the danger associated with emotional abuse and effective ways to promote healthy sexual relationships among young adults.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Explain how sex roles taken on by people engaged in heterosexual relationships are largely influenced by emotional relationships.

Keyword(s): Domestic Violence, Gender

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have experience in working in the area of sexual health. I have been a Principal Investigator or Co Investigator on sexual health studies specific to working with youth and young adults. My focus areas are women’s health, reproductive health, hiv risk reduction, and abuse. I have worked with minority populations and women. I am an Associate Professor of Health Education and the Associate Director of my department.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.