Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Student and faculty member present, "Using Dramatic Narrative to Reduce Myths about Relationship Abuse" at Fielding's Winter Session 2013

Karen E. Dill-Shackleford, Faculty, School of Psychology; Lee E. Shackleford; Melanie C. Green; Erica Scharrer; Craig Wetterer, Student, School of Psychology

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 25% of American women will experience Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in their lifetimes. Though relationship abuse (ex. IPV/dating abuse) is common, myths about relationship abuse are also common (domesticviolence.org, 2010; Peters, 2008; Stark, 2007). Fiction, literature and narrative are powerful sources of persuasion, (Appel, 2008; Appel & Richter, 2007; Dill, 2009; Glasser, 1988; Green & Brock, 2005; Green, Brock, & Kaufman, 2004; Green, Garst, Brock, & Chung,2006; Green, Garst, Brock, & Shrum, 2004; Holland, 2004, 2009)

In this interdisciplinary study, a playwright worked with two social psychologists and a communications scholar to create a play dramatizing the realities of relationship abuse. In a between-subjects experimental design, audience members watched either the relationship abuse play (n=75) or a control play (n=93) and then completed measures of Transportation, Character Identification, and Relationship Abuse Myth Acceptance (RAMA).

A between-subjects ANOVA was conducted with the independent variables of Play Type (Experimental vs. Control) and Transportation (Continuous), a covariate of sex of participant and the dependent measure of Relationship Abuse Myth Acceptance (RAMA). Results indicated a significant Play Type by Transportation interaction (f(1,162=1.792,p<.05, η2=.418). As predicted, Transportation was associated with lower RAMA scores in the Experimental but not the Control conditions. Results suggest that dramatic narrative, especially a believable and engaging narrative, can persuade audiences to believe less in common myths about abusive relationships.

This research was supported by a research grant from Fielding Graduate University.

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