Interpersonal Problems and Personality Features as Mediators Between Attachment and Intimate Partner Violence

Department of Human Services, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX 75962-3019, USA.
Violence and Victims (Impact Factor: 1.28). 06/2013; 28(3):414-28. DOI: 10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-12-00031
Source: PubMed


We examined whether hostile dominant interpersonal problems (HDIP), antisocial features, and borderline features mediated the relationship between attachment (anxiety or avoidance) and intimate partner violence (IPV) with a sample of 132 male partner abusers. We conducted two path analyses with avoidant attachment as the predictor in one model and anxious attachment as the predictor in a second model. In both models, HDIP, antisocial features, and borderline features were the mediators with IPV as the criterion. For both models, the attachment variable had statistically significant path values to the mediating variables. However, neither antisocial nor borderline features had statistically significant path values from the mediating variable to the criterion variable (IPV). Only HDIP had a statistically significant path value from the mediating variable to the criterion variable in both models. However, only the avoidant model produced a statistically significant specific indirect effect indicating that HDIP clearly mediated the relationship between attachment and IPV. Results suggest that partner abusive men with predominantly avoidant and, to a lesser degree, anxious attachment may be at increased risk for addressing conflicts in a coercive, controlling, and vengeful manner that is manifested in physical aggression toward a partner. Further, interpersonal constructs may be better measures of psychopathology and provide more relevant clinical targets than personality constructs with male partner abusers.

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