Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Social sciences, Psychology, Intimate partner violence, Romance narratives


Senn, Charlene




This study tested whether two specific romance narratives, the Dark Romance and Prince Charming narratives, support the development, continuation, and attitudinal tolerance of intimate partner violence. Moreover, the study explored the mechanisms underlying this relationship. Four hundred and one participants completed an online survey comprised of the Love Stories Scale (Sternberg, 1998), the Conflict In Adolescent Dating Relationships Inventory (Wolfe et al., 2001), the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (Glick & Fiske, 1996), the Inventory of Beliefs about Wife Beating (Saunders et al, 1987), the Acceptance of Sexualized Aggression subscale (Stevens, DiLalla, & Che, 1994) and the Attitudes Towards Male Psychological Dating Violence scale (Price & Byers, 1999). The results partly supported the hypotheses. Men's endorsement of the Dark Romance narrative was associated with increased levels of abusiveness and people's (i.e., survivors, perpetrators, and those without an abuse history) endorsement of this narrative was associated with attitudes more tolerant of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Additionally, women's endorsement of the Prince Charming narrative was associated with increased attitudinal tolerance for sexualized aggression via the mediating effect of benevolent traditional gender role beliefs. However, contrary to what was expected, there was no significant relation between the Dark Romance and Prince Charming narratives and the continuation of intimate partner violence. Survivors who had a higher level of endorsement of these narratives were not bound to their abusive relationships for longer periods of time than survivors who had lower levels of endorsement of these narratives. These results imply that people's internalization of popular romance narratives can have a harmful influence on their intimate partner violence related thoughts and behaviours.