Perceptions of Mock and Intentional Dating Aggression

Project title:

Perceptions of mock and intentional dating aggression: Differential reporting by males and females

About this project:

Self-report studies of physical dating aggression (DA) indicate that females report perpetration at a rate equal to or higher than males. Before concluding that females are more aggressive than males in their dating relationships, it is important to explore alternative explanations, especially methodological issues surrounding the measurement of DA. Items on the most common measures of adolescent DA are lacking information about the context of the interaction, specifically the affect and intentionality of the perpetrator. Exclusion of this information may lead to reporting biases between males and females. An interaction style often utilized within romantic dyads is mock DA, which differs from intentional DA in that the aggression co-occurs with signs of playful intent, typically shown through the use of smiles and positive affect. The goal of this study was to determine whether males and females differentiate between mock and intentional forms of DA, and whether gender differences exist in their perceptions of playfulness and aggressiveness.

Data collection:

Undergraduate students were invited to complete an online questionnaire in exchange for a course credit. They were presented with 8 written vignettes created for this research describing mock and intentional DA occurring between a romantic couple. Participants rated the playfulness and aggressiveness of each interaction. Following this, they were asked to indicate prior use of both forms of DA, as well as information regarding their dating characteristics.

Publications and Presentations:

Asghari, M., & Connolly, J. (2019, October). Perceptions of playful dating aggression amongst adolescents. The Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood’s 9th Annual Convention, Toronto, ON.


For more information about this project, please contact Melody Asghari at