This paper discusses an examination of a broader range of relationship dynamics than are typically used in analyzing intimate partner relationships that may involve intimate partner violence; the authors describe their longitudinal study methodology and outcomes, as well as the implications of their research.
Few studies have examined gender-specific concerns within intimate relationships that may be associated with conflict escalation and intimate partner violence (IPV). While prior theorizing has emphasized issues such as men’s feelings of jealousy, the role of concerns and conflict related to men’s actions has not been as thoroughly investigated. The authors draw on the life course perspective as background for assessing conflict areas related to men’s and women’s actions during the young adult period, and subsequently the association between such concerns and the odds of reporting IPV in a current/most recent relationship. Building on a longitudinal data set focused on a large, diverse sample, the authors administered surveys that assessed whether disagreements about potential conflict areas, including but not limited to infidelity, related to male or female partner’s actions. Concerns about women’s and men’s actions were both related to the odds of reporting IPV experience, but disagreements about male partners’ actions during young adulthood were actually more common, and relative to concerns about women’s actions, more strongly associated with IPV. Research and programmatic efforts should give additional attention to specific areas around which couples’ disagreements develop and conflicts sometimes escalate. A dyadic approach adds to the frequent emphasis on emotion management and control, that center primarily on one partner’s problematic relationship style, thus addressing the ‘form’ but not the ‘content’ of intimate partner conflicts. This approach would highlight a broader range of relationship dynamics than are currently included in theorizing and applied efforts. Publisher Abstract Provided
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