TESTING A STRUCTURAL MODEL OF COLLEGE MEN'S INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE ATTITUDES: RELATIONSHIPS WITH ADULT ATTACHMENT DIMENSIONS AND MASCULINE GENDER ROLE STRAIN
McDermott, Ryon 1980-
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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious public health concern. In the past 30 years, certain theoretical conceptualizations of IPV offenders have provided frameworks for understanding why some men commit partner violence. Contemporary expansions of early Feminist theories suggest that men's IPV toward women is related to traditional masculine gender roles and the psychological distress resulting from rigid adherence to such roles (i.e., gender role strain; Pleck, 1981, 1995). At the same time, a wide body of literature has examined attachment theory in relation to IPV in men, suggesting that insecure attachment is more prominent in partner abusive men than non-abusive men. The present study extended previous research by examining the combined contributions of adult attachment dimensions (e.g., anxiety and avoidance) and gender role strain toward the prediction of physical, sexual, and psychological violence acceptance attitudes in a large sample of college men (N = 419). Results of preliminary analyses revealed that attitudes of accepting the use of physical violence were severely skewed and, as such, were not included in the final analysis. Results of Structural Regression analyses indicated that the relationship between attachment anxiety and acceptance of sexual and psychological violence in relationships was fully mediated by men’s gender role strain. However, the relationship between attachment avoidance and acceptance of sexual and psychological IPV was partially mediated by men’s gender role strain. These findings suggest that insecure men may rigidly adhere to stereotypically masculine ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. In turn, such rigid adherence increases the likelihood of believing it is acceptable to use sexual and psychological violence in relationships. Results and implications for IPV prevention and intervention are discussed from a gender role strain and an adult attachment perspective.