Emotions That Predict Intimate Partner Violence among Women and Men
Sommer, Johannah M.
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Although maladaptive communication and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) have consistently been associated, higher-order communication factors and dyadic statistical approaches are needed to examine how violent partners communicate. Furthermore, evidence continues to suggest high rates of bilateral violence, a form of IPV where both partners initiate violence perpetration, but little is known about factors maintaining bilateral violence in these relationships. The current study sought to use factor analysis to explore how violent couples communicate using the Specific Affect (SPAFF) coding scheme, and how communication is related to physical assault perpetration and bilateral physical assault using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM). Community-recruited violent couples (n = 258) completed violence questionnaires and engaged in a conflict discussion. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) results did not confirm the existing four-factor structure of SPAFF. Instead, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) found support for a six-factor structure for men and a four-factor structure for women. Men and women had one shared Aggression factor (comprised of Defensiveness, Contempt, and Belligerence) that was used to predict physical assault in APIM models. Models found couple-level support for the Aggression factor for men and women, and their interaction, being associated with physical assault perpetration and bilateral violence. Results highlight the potential efficacy of individual and conjoint treatments for IPV that target negative communication behaviors and affect.