Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychological Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher I Eckhardt

Committee Member 1

Douglas Samuel

Committee Member 2

Susan C South

Committee Member 3

James M Tyler


The present study was an empirical evaluation of I³ “perfect storm” theory (“I-Cubed”;Finkel & Eckhardt, 2013; Finkel, 2014), in which the interactive risk processes of instigation, emotion regulation, and trait anger were examined in the prediction of intimate partner violence (IPV) related behaviors. In a 2 X 4 between subjects design, a sample of college undergraduates (N = 180) with a history of IPV were randomly assigned to use 1 of 4 emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal, distraction, suppression, or no instruction) while listening to either a anger arousing (instigation) or neutral (no instigation) imagined relationship scenario presented using the Articulated Thoughts in Simulated Situations (ATSS) paradigm. IPV-related behaviors were assessed via participants’ coded aggressive verbalizations during the imagined relationship scenario and self-reported desire to engage in IPV-related behaviors following the ATSS. Results supported the “perfect storm” hypothesis that greatest risk for IPV-related behaviors occurred when participants who endorsed high (versus low) levels of trait anger experienced provocation and engaged in suppression as a weak inhibitory strategy for emotion regulation χ²(1) = 20.34, p < .001 (r = .62). In addition, the prosocial outcome of negotiation with one’s partner was endorsed most frequently following the use of cognitive reappraisal without provocation (F(3, 164) = 2.903, p <.05). Implications for future research and intervention are discussed in the context of “perfect storm” theory.