Masters Thesis

Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies and Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence

This study was grounded in the I3 theory of aggression, which examines factors that make aggression more or less likely to occur. This study focused on intimate partner violence within the I3 framework. in particular, negative mood regulation (NMR) expectancies–which are people’s beliefs that they can improve their negative moods–were considered as a possible inhibiting factor for intimate partner violence. Participants were 186 men in romantic relationships, who completed the study online. They filled out measures of NMR expectancies and dispositional aggression, anger and hostility. They then completed a Stroop task, for which they indicated the color font in which words were presented. Participants were randomly assigned to either an experimental condition, in which some Stroop words had aggressive meanings, or a control condition, with all neutral words. Participants next were provoked by imagining scenarios in which their romantic partner flirted with another person, after which they were given the chance to behave violently by sticking pins into voodoo dolls representing their partner. Results showed NMR expectancies were negatively correlated with aggression, anger, and hostility. However, multivariate analyses predicting intimate partner violence were not significant. a major limitation of the study is that it was conducted online, and there was no way to control participants’ attention or limit outside distractions. Future research could be done in person and measure behaviors with participants’ actual romantic partners instead of using imaginary scenarios and symbolic aggression.

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