The Short-Term Effects of Gendered Primary Prevention Campaigns on Ambivalent Sexism and Beliefs about the Acceptability of Intimate Partner Violence
This study aimed to explore the effects of portrayed gender roles in media campaigns on participants’ endorsement of sexism and approval of intimate partner violence (IPV) across two studies. Study one (N = 227) used a within-subjects experimental design and consisted of two parts separated by a one-week period. In part one, participants completed an online questionnaire that consisted of the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory and the Beliefs about Relationship Aggression Scale. In part two, participants randomly viewed a poster depicting heterosexual IPV or a non-violent control, then completed the measures. Study two (N = 380) aimed to replicate study one using a between-subjects experimental design, and followed the procedure of study one, part two. ANOVA revealed that participants approved of female to male violence significantly more than male to female violence, and this approval was more pronounced for males, indicating a chivalrous norm. Regression analyses revealed the more that females, but not males, endorsed benevolent sexism (BS), the less they approved of male aggression (no provocation). Contrarily, the more male and female participants endorsed BS, the more they approved of female aggression (total and infidelity). Hostile sexism was not related to approval. Across both studies, regression analyses revealed that exposure to a poster depicting male aggression did not significantly change participants’ approval of IPV or level of sexism. In contrast, it was found that participants who viewed a poster depicting female aggression approved of female aggression (total and infidelity) significantly less than participants who viewed a non-violent control poster, however, this was only observed in study two. Furthermore, regression analyses revealed that exposure to a poster depicting female aggression decreased participants’ endorsement of BS, with females decreasing the most relative to baseline, however, this was only observed in study one. The need for prevention campaigns to be informed by multifactorial frameworks, rather than single factor gendered theories, is discussed alongside other implications for policy and practice.