Enduring vulnerabilities, relationship attributions, and couple conflict: An integrative model of the occurrence and frequency of intimate partner violence

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We tested an integrative model of individual and dyadic variables contributing to intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration. Based on the vulnerability-stress-adaptation (VSA) model, we hypothesized that three " enduring vulnerabilities" (i.e., antisocial behavior, hostility, and depressive symptoms) would be associated with a " maladaptive process" (i.e., negative relationship attributions) that would lead to difficulties in couple conflict resolution, thus leading to IPV. Among a community sample of 167 heterosexual couples who were expecting their first child, we used an actor-partner interdependence model to account for the dyadic nature of conflict and IPV, as well as a hurdle count model to improve upon prior methods for modeling IPV data. Study results provided general support for the integrative model, demonstrating the importance of considering couple conflict in the prediction of IPV and showing the relative importance of multiple predictor variables. Gender symmetry was observed for the prediction of IPV occurrence, with gender differences emerging in the prediction of IPV frequency. Relatively speaking, the prediction of IPV frequency appeared to be a function of enduring vulnerabilities among men, but a function of couple conflict among women. Results also revealed important cross-gender effects in the prediction of IPV, reflecting the inherently dyadic nature of IPV, particularly in the case of " common couple violence." Future research using longitudinal designs is necessary to verify the conclusions suggested by the current results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-718
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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