ABSTRACT: Use of aggressive behaviors in adolescent romantic relationships, the endorsement of attitudes that promote such behaviors, and the extent to which attachment and emotional styles are related to these behaviors and attitudes were examined in 254 high school students. In general, aggressive behaviors and attitudes were not common. As expected girls were somewhat more likely to report being the perpetrator of physical aggression and boys were somewhat more likely to endorse the acceptance of aggression and dysfunctional sexual attitudes. For girls, a less secure relationship with best friends and lower levels of shame and guilt were related to the use of aggression in romantic relationships and endorsing less healthy attitudes about these relationships. For boys, externalizing responsibility for harm to others was related to using physical aggression in romantic relationships and lower levels of guilt and shame were related to the justification of sexual aggression. Intervention implications discussed include the need to employ programs that are grounded in the nature of adolescent relationships where aggression is more often mutual between partners, and the potential benefit of targeting emotional styles.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence 09/2002; 31(5):373-385. · 2.72 Impact Factor