Category: Couples / Close Relationships

Symposium

Avoidance of Internal Distress and Adult Attachment Patterns: Relevance to Partner Violence

Saturday, November 18
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom I & J, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Experiential Avoidance | Intimate Partner Aggression | Couples / Close Relationships
Presentation Type: Symposium

Two psychological constructs that have been linked to intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration are emotion dysregulation (Langer & Lawrence, 2009) and insecure attachment (Dutton & White, 2012; Mauricio et al., 2007). Despite a strong theoretical framework and empirical evidence highlighting the relevance of these psychological vulnerabilities, interventions employed by IPV perpetrator treatment programs typically fail to address such difficulties (Corvo, Dutton, & Chen, 2009). In an effort to promote evidence-informed interventions, there is a need for further study of modifiable psychological risk factors associated with partner violence, particularly among court-mandated populations.


The current study investigated relationships between experiential avoidance and IPV perpetration (physical, psychological, sexual) reported over the past year among court-mandated male perpetrators. Associations between attachment dimensions (anxiety and avoidance) and IPV acts were also examined. Participants consisted of men (N = 90) recruited from four partner abuse intervention programs in Illinois. Results of zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) regressions for count outcomes showed that experiential avoidance was positively associated with number of physical and psychological IPV acts perpetrated after controlling for impression management and number of treatment sessions completed. After controlling for the same predictor variables, logistic regression analysis showed that experiential avoidance was positively associated with odds of perpetrating sexual coercion, measured dichotomously. Finally, with regards to attachment dimension, anxiety but not avoidance was positively associated with odds of physical, psychological, and sexual IPV perpetration.


Findings extend previous research by demonstrating associations between experiential avoidance and forms of IPV perpetration, specifically for court-mandated male perpetrators. Results also highlight the relevance of anxious attachment patterns as they pertain to risk of IPV perpetration in this population. Implications of these findings, with respect to both public policy and program interventions, are discussed.

Daniel A. Goldstein

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

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