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Tara Elizabeth Sutton

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Mississippi State University

About Tara

Sutton’s research is focused on the social and family contexts of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and other criminal, violent, and deviant behavior among adolescents and young adults. Overarching themes Sutton's writings include violence against women and children, the intergenerational transmission of violence, youth deviance, African American families, and LGBTQ youth.

At the University of Georgia, Sutton worked with 4-H extension to train and evaluate facilitators in a relationship education program. As part of this role, Sutton worked on a federal grant alongside the Georgia Campaign of Adolescent Power & Potential to help disseminate sexual education and relationship education to underserved (e.g. low-income, foster, African American) adolescents in Georgia. Sutton has recently signed up to become a mentor for the LGBTQ mentor-mentee program run by Mississippi State University faculty and graduate students.


How Helping Families with Ongoing Problems Can Prevent Child and Partner Abuse

    Tara Elizabeth Sutton


"Hooking-Up and Sexual Victimization on Campus: Examining Moderators of Risk" (with Leslie Gordon Simons and Kimberly A. Tyler). Journal of Interpersonal Violence (April 2019).

Explores childhood sexual abuse, family violence, sexual minority (SM) status, and problematic alcohol use as potential moderators of the association between hooking-up and three forms of sexual victimization: coerced, incapacitated, and forced. Recommends ways to address sexual violence against sexual minority students and against students who have experienced family violence.

"Racial Discrimination as a Risk Factor for African American Men’s Physical Partner Violence: A Longitudinal Test of Mediators and Moderators" (with Leslie Gordon Simons, Brittany T. Martin, Eric T. Klopack, Frederick X. Gibbons, Steve R. H. Beach, and Ronald L. Simons). Violence Against Women (March 2019).

Explores how and under what conditions racial discrimination in adolescence leads to men's use of physical partner violence in adulthood. Finds supportive parenting act as an important buffer but corporal punishment appears to exacerbate the negative effect of discrimination on partner violence.

"Family Violence" (with Leslie Gordon Simons), in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Provides an overview of the causes and consequences of the main forms of family violence: child abuse, sibling abuse, intimate partner violence, and elder mistreatment. Explores theoretical perspectives and directions for future research.

"Common Couple Violence as a Consequence of Childhood Economic Hardship: The Mediating Role of Family Processes in a Longitudinal Study," University of Georgia, May 2018.

Explores, in this dissertation, precursors to the link between abusive parenting in adolescence and intimate partner violence in adulthood. Finds precursors include family economic hardships, parental depression, and caregiver conflict. Provides several policy implications and recommendations.

"Sexual Assault among College Students: Family of Origin Hostility, Attachment, and the Hook-Up Culture as Risk Factors" (with Leslie Gordon Simons). Journal of Child and Family Studies 24, no. 10 (2015): 2827-2840.

Examines the relations between family relationships, engagement in the hook-up culture, and sexual assault among college students. Finds that family relationships are important precursors to the connection between hooking-up and men's perpetration as well as between hooking-up and women's victimization.

"The Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: Examining the Mediating Roles of Insecure Attachment and Destructive Disagreement Beliefs" (with Leslie Gordon Simons, K. A. S. Wickrama, and Ted Futris). Violence and Victims 29, no. 4 (2014): 670-687.

Examines the relationship between exposure to family violence and dating violence among college students. Explores attachment styles and beliefs about disagreements as links between family violence and dating violence perpetration and victimization specifically. Suggests intervention efforts including relationship education for college students.