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Adult Attachment as a Risk Factor for Intimate Partner Violence: The "Mispairing" of Partners Attachment Styles

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 23 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 616-634
Diana M. Doumas; Christine L. Pearson; Jenna E. Elgin; Lisa L. McKinley
Date Published
May 2008
19 pages
This study examined the relationship between intimate partner violence and adult attachment in a sample of 70 couples.
The attachment style of each partner and the interaction of the partners' attachment styles were examined as predictors of intimate partner violence. Additional analyses were conducted to examine violence reciprocity and to explore differences in the relationship between attachment and violence using continuous and dichotomous violence measures. Results of hierarchical regression analyses indicated the "mispairing" of an avoidant male partner with an anxious female partner was associated with both male and female violence. When controlling for partner violence, the relationship between attachment and violence was significant for males only. In addition, analyses using a dichotomized violence variable produced different results from analyses using a continuous violence measure. Clinical implications include focusing on the discrepancy between partners' needs for intimacy and distance within the couple as a strategy for treating intimate partner violence. (Published Abstract)