Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

Kristin Heron

Committee Director

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Abby Braitman

Committee Member

Richard Handel


Bell and Naugle (2008) proposed a comprehensive theoretical framework that includes multiple variables hypothesized to be involved in intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration, including distal and proximal variables. The current study (1) assessed the extent to which childhood physical abuse victimization, interparental violence, insecure attachment, accepting beliefs about violence, sexism, stress, alcohol and marijuana use, relationship satisfaction, emotion regulation, and anger management were associated with physical IPV perpetration; (2) determined whether some of these variables influenced physical IPV perpetration more than others; (3) explored the mediation of distal variables by more proximal variables in predicting physical IPV perpetration; and (4) assessed the degree to which Bell and Naugle’s theoretical framework enhances existing knowledge about individuals who are more likely to perpetrate physical IPV. Using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, the current study assessed whether physical IPV perpetration was indirectly and positively related to “family violence” history (defined by indicators childhood physical abuse victimization, mother-to-father physical assault, and father-to-mother physical assault); anxious attachment; avoidant attachment; and “maladaptive beliefs” (defined by indicators accepting beliefs about violence, hostile sexism, and benevolent sexism) through stress; “alcohol use” (defined by indicators alcohol consumption, alcohol problems, and alcohol dependence); marijuana use; relationship dissatisfaction; “emotion dysregulation,” and anger mismanagement. Participants included 326 undergraduate college students who reported being in a romantic relationship for at least three months with conflict present in the relationship. They completed online self-report questionnaires. Results indicated that emotion dysregulation significantly mediated the association from anxious attachment to physical IPV perpetration, and relationship dissatisfaction significantly mediated the association from avoidant attachment to physical IPV perpetration. “Family violence” and “maladaptive beliefs” directly predicted physical IPV perpetration. Results demonstrate the importance of interventions that target improving emotion regulation skills and relationship satisfaction, and prevention efforts that target changing accepting beliefs about IPV and teaching individuals who have been exposed to direct or indirect violence alternative ways of resolving relational conflict.


The VIRGINIA CONSORTIUM PROGRAM IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY is a joint program of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University.


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