Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Alan King


Men and women (N = 238) in the present study viewed vignettes illustrating either expressive or instrumental forms of aggression between two heterosexual partners that varied by perpetrator gender. Analyses of covariance were conducted using a 2 (respondent gender) by 2 (perpetrator gender) by 2 (expressive versus instrumental vignette) between groups design. Ratings of expressive and instrumental aggression were provided using a revised version of the Expagg questionnaire. No main or interactive effects were found for expressive Expagg ratings. A number of significant findings emerged from analyses of instrumental Expagg ratings. A significant main effect was found for aggressor gender, with male behavior characterized as more instrumental in nature regardless of participant gender or type of aggression. A significant two-way interaction between type of aggression and participant gender indicated that male respondents tended to view the acts depicted in the instrumental vignette more “accurately” than their female counterparts. Additionally, an interaction was found between respondent and aggressor gender with females providing significantly higher instrumental ratings for male perpetrators. Results were consistent with prior research demonstrating gender differences in how men and women perceive aggressive acts by opposite-sex perpetrators, and underscore the utility of aggressive typologies in understanding intimate partner violence (IPV). Areas of further study are discussed in the context of developing broad and specific interventions for aggressive behavior including IPV.