Perceptions of Verbal Aggression in Romantic Relationships: The Role of Family History and Motivational Systems

Lindsey Susan Aloia, Denise Haunani Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the perceived acceptability of verbally aggressive behavior in adult romantic relationships as a function of both exposure to familial verbal aggression in childhood and the strength of peoples' motivational systems. Previous research suggests that a history of familial verbal aggression in childhood desensitizes an individual's psychological, behavioral, and physiological responses in adulthood to be more tolerant of their own and other's verbally aggressive behavior. In addition, the degree to which childhood exposure to familial verbal aggression leads to desensitization in the form of adult acceptance of aggression in romantic relationships may be influenced by characteristics of people's motivational systems. To examine this, 87 college-aged students completed measures assessing their history of familial verbal aggression, strength of their behavioral inhibition and activation systems, and their reported inclination to enact verbal aggression in a romantic relationship. History of familial verbal aggression was positively associated with the perceived acceptability of verbal aggression against a romantic partner, and this association was stronger for individuals with higher behavioral inhibition system scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-423
Number of pages13
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume77
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 8 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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