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Differences on the Use of Emotion Regulation Strategies and Intimate Partner Aggression Between Males and Females
Natalia Rodriguez Romero, Depts. of Psychology and Criminal Justice, and Alexandra M. Martelli, Dept. of Psychology Graduate Student, with Dr. David Chester, Dept. of Psychology
Intimate partner aggression (IPA) is defined as an attempt to harm one’s romantic partner via physical, verbal, or sexual means. It is crucial to determine key factors related to IPA perpetration to further understand the phenomena and reduce its prevalence in society. We explored gender differences in the use of emotion regulation strategies and IPA perpetration. The emotion regulation strategies examined were reappraisal – the act of reassessing an emotion and its intensity – and suppression – deliberately inhibiting unwanted thoughts, feelings, emotions, and associated behaviors. It was hypothesized that males would report higher levels of IPA perpetration than females. Moreover, that there would be a negative relationship between reappraisal and IPA perpetration, and a positive relationship between suppression and IPA perpetration. Undergraduate students (N = 543) completed three intimate partner aggression self-report scales. There was support for hypothesis 1, however it was in the opposite direction to what we preregistered. Women reported more IPA perpetration than men. Additionally, we found that overt aggression had a negative relationship with reappraisal, such that greater self-reported reappraisal was associated with less overt IPA perpetration. Finally, there was no support for hypothesis 2 and 3; so, gender did not moderate the link between either emotion regulation strategy on IPA perpetration. These results indicated that use of reappraisal and suppression emotion regulation techniques did not significantly differ among women and men. More research should be conducted to determine causal factors leading to gender differences in IPA perpetration. These data will aid in determining what interventions to apply to particular groups, and in turn help reduce the occurrence of IPA.
David S. Chester, Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
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