Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Ellen S Cohn

Second Advisor

Katie M Edwards

Third Advisor

Lindsey M Rodriguez


Emotion regulation has been identified as a predictor of intimate partner aggression (IPA), a widespread and costly problem in the United States. However, researchers who study emotion regulation and IPA have primarily focused on the individual, despite the fact that IPA is often bidirectional and emotion regulation, a risk factor for IPA, is largely a dyadic process. Further, the majority of emotion regulation and IPA researchers have conducted correlational studies and therefore are unable to establish emotion regulation as a causal and temporal antecedent to IPA empirically. The purpose of the current dissertation was to investigate the impact of interpersonal emotion regulation on partner-directed state aggression using a diverse set of methodologies. The two studies conducted examined how an individual’s ability to regulate their romantic partner’s emotions (i.e., interpersonal regulation) during conflict was associated with subsequent partner-directed state aggression. It was hypothesized that interpersonal emotion regulation would be significantly associated with partner-directed state aggression. Specifically, engaging in negative interpersonal emotion regulation with one’s partner would be associated with more partner-directed state aggression, and that positive interpersonal emotion regulation with one’s partner would be associated with less partner-directed state aggression. It was also hypothesized that both members of the couples’ use of interpersonal emotion regulation during conflict would be predictive of an individual’s subsequent feelings of aggression toward their partner. The results indicate that the use of negative interpersonal emotion regulation by both partners was predictive of aggression, supporting a dyadic model of interpersonal emotion regulation and IPA.