Attitudes and dating aggression: A cognitive dissonance approach

Julie A. Schumacher, Amy M Smith Slep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the association between attitudes about dating aggression and select dating aggressive behaviors (verbal aggression and jealous behavior) in high school students. Our hypothesis, derived from cognitive dissonance theory, was that discrepancies between self-reported attitudes and aggressive behavior at Time 1 (i.e., putative cognitive dissonance) would predict decreases in aggression between Time 1 and Time 2 beyond what would be predicted by change in attitudes over the same period. Results indicated that cognitive dissonance (as indexed by the discrepancy between attitudes and behavior) was generally a significant predictor of behavior change, providing significant improvement in prediction of behavior over attitude change alone. We discuss the implications of these findings for prevention efforts and directions for future research in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • attitudes
  • cognitive dissonance
  • dating violence
  • jealousy
  • verbal aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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