Exploring Attitudes Towards Teenage Relationship Abuse: A Q-Methodology Study

Abstract

Teenagers are most at risk of relationship abuse in the UK, yet least likely to report it (Home Office, 2014). It is not only a proliferating crime, but a complex health, social and psychological epidemic (Rakovec, 2014). The issue is significantly misunderstood and unrecognised (Crown Prosecution Service, 2014). Previous research into attitudes towards adult relationship abuse in the UK, and teenage abuse in the US, shows negative attitudes are erroneously influenced by myths and stereotypes. Attitudes are a result of individual’s values, and it is these values which dictate behaviours. Such attitudes precipitate and perpetuate the ‘shadowing’ of the problem and exacerbate victims’ suffering (Yamawaki et al., 2012). Research proposes similar cause and effects of attitudes towards teenage abuse in the UK, however, no research to date has investigated this. This study aimed to address a gap in the literature by exploring attitudes towards teenage relationship abuse to identify if common myths and stereotypes were present. A q-methodology was used to explore perceptions and findings interpreted using thematic analysis. Findings showed gender differences in perceptions, and that myths and stereotypes were prevalent in views. This may explain why the severity of the issue is shadowed and overlooked. It is hoped the findings can be incorporated into campaigns to successfully increase awareness of teenage relationship abuse as well as aid in eradicating fallacies. As a result, this may increase the likeliness of young victims reporting abuse, increase support, reduce the number of victims, and ultimately aid in ending teenage relationship abuse.



Author Information
Deanne Lockington, Teesside University, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2019
Stream: Qualitative/Quantitative Research in any other area of Psychology

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