Date of Award

Winter 2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Timmons Fritz, Patti

Keywords

Psychology, Couples, Intimate partner violence, Intimate relationships, Physical aggression, Social cognition, Social information processing

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The aim of the current study was to use couple-level data to examine negative emotions and social information-processing (SIP) abilities as risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV) among 100 dating couples (N = 200; mean age = 21.45 years). Crick and Dodge's (1994) SIP model was used as a guiding theoretical framework. Participants read a series of hypothetical conflict situation vignettes and responded to questionnaires to assess negative emotions and various facets of SIP including attributions for partner behaviour, generation of response alternatives, and response selection. The Revised Conflict Tactic Scales (CTS2; Straus, Hamby, Boney-McCoy, & Sugarman, 1996) were used to assess how often acts of physical aggression occurred in the preceding year. Bivariate correlations revealed negative emotions and SIP abilities were significantly intercorrelated. A series of negative binomial mixed-model regressions were conducted based on the actor-partner interdependence model (APIM; Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006). Significant results emerged for the response generation and negative emotion models. Results suggested that participants who generated a lower number of coping response alternatives were at greater risk of victimization (actor effect). Women were at greater risk of victimization if they had partners who generated a lower number of coping response alternatives (sex by partner interaction effect). Generation of less competent coping response alternatives predicted greater risk of perpetration among men, whereas generation of more competent coping response alternatives predicted greater risk of victimization among women (sex by actor interaction effects). Finally, two significant actor by partner interaction effects emerged for the negative emotion models. Participants who reported similar levels of negative emotions as their partners were at lowest risk of perpetration, whereas participants who reported discrepant levels of negative emotions from their partners were at greatest risk of perpetration. Participants who reported low levels of negative emotions were at lowest risk of victimization regardless of their partner's emotions; however, participants who reported high levels of negative emotions were at greatest risk of victimization if they had partners who reported low levels of negative emotions. Results from the current study have implications for researchers and clinicians interested in addressing the problem of IPV.

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