Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Katie M Edwards

Second Advisor

Victoria L Banyard

Third Advisor

Rebecca M Warner


There is a growing body of literature investigating agreement of partners on instances of intimate partner aggression (IPA) well as attributions for why people engage in IPA. Although our understanding has increased, there remains a major gap in the literature: the utilization of only one member of a couple's reports of the aggression and attributions (i.e., partners' perceptions of why an event of IPA occurred). Using a dyadic study, romantic couples were asked to independently discuss the same psychological, physical, and sexual IPA incidents in their relationship. Seeking to bridge the two bodies of literature of both perpetrators' and victims' perceptions of the same IPA incidents, the current study found that while there was moderate agreement on whether or not aggression even happened in an instance of IPA, as well as agreement on the general type of aggression that occurred (e.g., psychological), there was little to no agreement otherwise (i.e., Kappa statistics indicating agreement ranging from nonexistent agreement to poor agreement on specific behaviors, attributions, and emotional effects). Partners typically disagreed on most behaviors that were enacted during instances of aggression, the attributions for the aggression (with the exception of alcohol), as well as the emotional outcomes related to IPA. In addition, disagreement on specific behaviors of aggression were related to various correlates (i.e., hypergender ideology, emotion dysregulation, controlling behavior, perceptions that one/one's partner will perpetrate in the future, past year physical IPA victimization/perpetration, past year psychological IPA victimization/perpetration, and any past year IPA victimization/perpetration), whereas disagreement on emotional effects was only related to past-year psychological IPA perpetration. These findings and area of research are imperative to understanding the complexities of conflict in the realm of romantic relationships, as well as being vital for the development and success of IPA prevention and treatment programs.