Negative affect is a central component of many theories of aggressive behavior. Though understudied, it is likely that proximal negative affect increases the odds of aggression perpetration when individuals have poor emotion regulation, but not when individuals have more adaptive emotion regulation. Thus, the current study examined (1) the proximal effect of various indicators of negative affect (e.g., anger, hostility, depression) on intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration and (2) whether poor emotion regulation moderated these associations. For up to 90 consecutive days, male college students (N = 67) in a current dating relationship completed daily surveys on their negative affect and IPV perpetration. Results demonstrated that emotion regulation moderated many of the associations between proximal negative affect and physical aggression perpetration, such that negative affect was associated with increased odds of violence when poor emotion regulation was high but not low. This is the first study to demonstrate the moderating role of emotion regulation in the link between proximal negative affect and IPV perpetration. As such, these findings have important implications for existing theories of IPV and emotion regulation and suggest that interventions may effectively reduce IPV by targeting emotion regulation.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: May 21, 2015
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