Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling Psychology & Community Services

First Advisor

David Whitcomb

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Until recently, much of the research on intimate partner violence has focused primarily on male aggressors. However, research has increasingly indicated that women use violence against male intimate partners at higher rates than previously suspected. Significant controversy exists with regard to the context, motivation, and types of violence used by women. The current study explored the degree to which female aggressors' attachment styles are associated with and predictive of their use of intimate partner violence against men. In addition, coping processes and feminine ideology were studied, particularly in combination with attachment style, to determine their relationship with use of partner violence. It was hypothesized that anxious and avoidant attachment styles would be associated with and predictive of various forms of partner violence. Anxious attachment was found to be associated with and predictive of intimate partner violence but avoidant attachment was non-significant. It was also hypothesized that significant differences would be found across women with secure, fearful, preoccupied, and dismissing styles of attachment and their use of violence. Differences were found between secure and fearful attachment styles, as well as between fearful and dismissing styles. These results, which have significant implications for research and clinical practice, are discussed.

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