Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Monica Swahn, PhD, MPH

Second Advisor

Grier Paige, PhD, MS

Third Advisor

Alana Vivolo-Kantor, PhD, MPH


Background: Dating violence is a significant public health problem. This study explored the potential mediation of self-efficacy of nonviolent conflict negotiation in the association between peer violence and dating violence among youth in a high-risk community.

Methods: This study used cross-sectional data from the Youth Violence Survey: Linkages among Different Forms of Violence study funded by CDC. Data were collected in in 2004 and analyzed in 2016. The sample comprised 4,131 public school students in the seventh, ninth, eleventh, and twelfth year in an urban school district with high crime and poverty rates who completed a self-report questionnaire following parental consent and student assent. The analytic sample was restricted to participants who dated in the past year (n= 2,888). A mediation analysis was conducted using both the Causal Steps method and the Sobel Test to determine if self-efficacy in nonviolent conflict negotiation partially mediated the association between peer violence perpetration and dating violence perpetration.

Results: Results supported the study hypothesis that self-efficacy partially mediated the relationship between peer violence perpetration and dating violence perpetration. Even after controlling for dating violence victimization, peer violence victimization, and peer violence perpetration, self-efficacy contributed significantly to the model explaining dating violence perpetration and lowered the dating violence perpetration variation for which peer violence perpetration accounted (total effect: β= .930 and p<.001, direct effect: β= .841 and p<.001) . Self-efficacy decreased the odds by .674 of participants who had perpetrated peer violence from perpetrating dating violence (p<.001). The significance of the mediation effect was confirmed by the Sobel Test (z= 3.917, 95% CI).

Conclusion: Self-efficacy in nonviolent conflict negotiation could be an effective intervening factor for dating violence perpetration, contributing to stopping the cycle of violence among youth in high-risk communities.