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Adult attachment styles, destructive conflict resolution, and the experience of intimate partner violence

  • Although there is ample evidence linking insecure attachment styles and intimate partner violence (IPV), little is known about the psychological processes underlying this association, especially from the victim’s perspective. The present study examined how attachment styles relate to the experience of sexual and psychological abuse, directly or indirectly through destructive conflict resolution strategies, both self-reported and attributed to their opposite-sex romantic partner. In an online survey, 216 Spanish undergraduates completed measures of adult attachment style, engagement and withdrawal conflict resolution styles shown by self and partner, and victimization by an intimate partner in the form of sexual coercion and psychological abuse. As predicted, anxious and avoidant attachment styles were directly related to both forms of victimization. Also, an indirect path from anxious attachment to IPV victimization was detected via destructive conflict resolution strategies. Specifically, anxiously attached participants reported aAlthough there is ample evidence linking insecure attachment styles and intimate partner violence (IPV), little is known about the psychological processes underlying this association, especially from the victim’s perspective. The present study examined how attachment styles relate to the experience of sexual and psychological abuse, directly or indirectly through destructive conflict resolution strategies, both self-reported and attributed to their opposite-sex romantic partner. In an online survey, 216 Spanish undergraduates completed measures of adult attachment style, engagement and withdrawal conflict resolution styles shown by self and partner, and victimization by an intimate partner in the form of sexual coercion and psychological abuse. As predicted, anxious and avoidant attachment styles were directly related to both forms of victimization. Also, an indirect path from anxious attachment to IPV victimization was detected via destructive conflict resolution strategies. Specifically, anxiously attached participants reported a higher use of conflict engagement by themselves and by their partners. In addition, engagement reported by the self and perceived in the partner was linked to an increased probability of experiencing sexual coercion and psychological abuse. Avoidant attachment was linked to higher withdrawal in conflict situations, but the paths from withdrawal to perceived partner engagement, sexual coercion, and psychological abuse were non-significant. No gender differences in the associations were found. The discussion highlights the role of anxious attachment in understanding escalating patterns of destructive conflict resolution strategies, which may increase the vulnerability to IPV victimization.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Helena BonacheORCiD, Rosaura Gonzalez-MendezORCiD, Barbara KrahéORCiDGND
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus4-405132
Parent Title (English):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe (405)
Document Type:Postprint
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2018/05/08
Year of Completion:2016
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2018/05/08
Tag:attachment styles; conflict resolution; intimate partner violence; psychological abuse; sexual coercion
Issue:405
Pagenumber:23
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 34 Recht / 340 Recht
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access
Grantor:Sage
Licence (German):License LogoKeine Nutzungslizenz vergeben - es gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht
Notes extern:Journal of Interpersonal Violence (2016), S. 1-23 DOI: 10.1177/0886260516640776