Category: Violence / Aggression
Emotion regulation is an essential process for well-being (Gross & Thompson, 2007). Dysfunction in emotion regulation is a predictor of a number of mental health problems, including alcohol misuse (Holohan, 2001). Both emotion dysregulation and alcohol use have been shown to be independently associated with the perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV; Foran & O'Leary, 2008; Shorey, Brasfield, Febres, & Stuart, 2011). When combined in lab-based aggression paradigms or systematically investigated in cross-sectional data, these constructs are significantly associated with IPV perpetration (Ortiz, Shorey, & Cornelius, 2015; Watkins, DiLillo, & Maldonado, 2015). However, studies thus far have examined the joint influence of these constructs only in women and romantic dyads from college samples. The current study aimed to extend prior research by examining the influence of emotion dysregulation and alcohol use on physical and psychological IPV perpetration among men arrested for domestic violence.
The current study included 373 men arrested for domestic violence and court-ordered to attend batterer intervention programs. The Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS; Gratz, 2004) assessed emotion dysregulation; the psychological aggression and physical assault perpetration subscales of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2; Straus et al., 1996) assessed psychological and physical IPV; and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT; Saunders et al., 1993) assessed alcohol use and problems.
We ran a path analysis to determine the pathways by which emotion dysregulation and alcohol use influenced IPV perpetration. The analysis revealed an indirect path to IPV, such that men’s difficulties with emotion regulation was associated with psychological aggression perpetration through alcohol use (B = .11, 95% CI [.05 to .16]). Additionally, results demonstrated a two-chain mediated path, such that difficulties with emotion regulation related to increased alcohol use, which related to higher psychological aggression scores, which related to higher physical assault scores (B = .04, 95% CI [.02 to .07]).
Results suggest that emotion dysregulation, alcohol use and problems, and psychological aggression may all play significant and intertwined roles in the perpetration of physical IPV among men arrested for domestic violence. Implications regarding these findings as well as future directions for research will be discussed.
Hannah Grigorian– University of Tennessee
Autumn Rae Florimbio– Graduate Research Assistant, University of Tennessee
Meagan Brem– Graduate Research Assistant, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
Caitlin Wolford-Clevenger– Graduate Research Assistant, University of Tennessee
JoAnna Elmquist– Graduate Student, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
Ryan Shorey– Assistant Professor, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Gregory Stuart– Professor, University of Tennessee