Using couple-level data and a multilevel actor-partner interdependence model, this study examined correlates of psychological aggression including problem drinking, illicit drug use, anxiety and depression, recent life stressors, love and caring, adverse childhood experiences (ACE) of emotional and physical abuse, with particular emphasis on the adoption of a “street code” perspective/attitude and low self-control.
Using a diverse sample derived from a national sample, self-reports of psychological aggression and its correlates were analyzed across 800 individuals (400 dyads) who were in a current heterosexual intimate partnership. In multilevel analyses, psychological aggression was correlated with the individual’s risk factors and that of their partner for all variables except for problem drinking and illicit drug use. Although associations for both actor and partner were generally similar, partners’ reports of love and caring were more protective against respondents’ perpetration of psychological aggression. Furthermore, associations between psychological aggression and its covariates did not vary by gender. With the exception of self-control, actor effects did not interact with partner effects to buffer or amplify associations with psychological aggression. The findings suggested that risk factors associated with the individual and those associated with the partner both contributed to each individual’s psychological aggression independent of the other. Future intimate partner violence studies should continue to explore dual interactive risk factors for both members of the intimate relationship in predicting aggression. (publisher abstract modified)