Dating and intimate partner violence as an outcome of academic strain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explains dating and intimate partner violence as an outcome of academic stress. Using Merton's Classical Strain Theory (1938) and Agnew's General Social Strain Theory, we discuss the relationship between academic strain and intimate partner violence (physical, psychological-emotional aggression, and sexual coercion). All college students experience the strain of achieving the deeply in-grained cultural goal of earning a college degree, however, the management of strain varies with some students resorting to force and violence when experiencing cumulative or acute strain. We discuss this variation according to Merton's adaptation of innovation and Agnew's sources of strain. According to our research, and that of others (see bibliography below), psychological-emotional aggression is the prevalent form of intimate partner violence experienced by college students. Its occurrence has been attributed to academic, economic, and social stress. Injury from physical or sexual assault is less prevalent than sexual coercion where a date or intimate partner is unduly pressured into unwanted sexual activity. We discuss how physical and sexual violence are associated with these stresses also. We conclude by reiterating the differing forms of dating and intimate partner violence are outcomes of the academic, economic, and social strain experienced by students as they strive to meet the cultural expectation of earning a college degree.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntimate Partner Violence
Subtitle of host publicationAssessment, Treatment and Prevention
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781536197747
ISBN (Print)9781536196276
StatePublished - May 26 2021


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