Distinct and Overlapping Correlates of Psychological and Physical Partner Violence Perpetration

Michele Cascardi, Ernest N. Jouriles, Jeff R. Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Despite its high prevalence, adverse impact, and potential significance in understanding the onset of physical partner violence (PV), there has been surprisingly scant research on psychological PV perpetration. The present research, guided by social learning and attachment theories, addresses this gap in the literature by examining overlapping and distinct correlates for psychological and physical PV perpetration in emerging adults. Undergraduates (N = 504) with current or recent dating experience were recruited to complete a self-report survey. The survey included measures of emotional and physical child maltreatment, witnessing physical family violence, insecure attachment, hostility, and anger. The sample was 63% female and racially and ethnically diverse (50% non-White, non-Hispanic, or Hispanic of any race). Insecure attachment and anger, but not hostility or child maltreatment, were uniquely correlated with psychological PV, whereas only physical child maltreatment and witnessing physical family violence were unique correlates for physical PV. Neither emotional nor physical child maltreatment potentiated relations between insecure attachment, hostility, or anger and either form of PV. Although females were more likely to perpetrate psychological and physical PV, correlates for each form of PV did not vary by gender. The relations between physical child maltreatment and physical PV are consistent with a social learning theory explanation for physical PV. Insecure attachment and anger appear to be particularly important correlates for psychological, but not physical, PV. Thus, psychological and physical PV may have distinct risk profiles and may require different intervention targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2375-2398
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • anger
  • attachment
  • child emotional maltreatment
  • child physical maltreatment
  • hostility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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