Attitudes towards the use of violence and partner directed aggression

Joel G Sprunger, Purdue University


The present prospective study examined implicit and explicit attitudes toward the use of violence and their capacity to predict past and future partner-directed aggression in a nonclinical sample. Implicit violence attitudes were measured using a modified version of the Implicit Association Test. A battery of commonly-utilized explicit self-report measures indexed explicit attitudes toward intimate partner violence (IPV). Measurement of violence attitudes occurred prior to engaging in the Articulated Thoughts in Simulated Situations behavioral aggression paradigm. Participants (N = 81) were randomly assigned to conditions of imagined provocative (n = 48) or non-provocative (n = 33) relationship scenarios and given the option to stick pins in dolls representing characters depicted in the scenarios. Simultaneously, participants "thought out loud" into a microphone about their thoughts. After the scenario, participants were provided with a list of physically and verbally aggressive behaviors and asked to indicate, if given the opportunity, their desire to have engaged in each behavior while they listened to the scenario. The results indicated that individuals with a history of recent psychological IPV perpetration showed more positive implicit attitudes toward violence relative to participants without a psychological IPV history. Implicit violence attitudes were unrelated to participant history of physical IPV perpetration. Explicit, but not implicit attitudes moderated the relationship between relationship provocation and the desire to engage in physically violent behavior. Implicit measures of violence attitudes did not show an incremental contribution toward the prediction of behavioral aggression on the present measures over and above explicit self-report measures of the construct.




Eckhardt, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server