Cyber intimate partner aggression in adulthood: The role of insecure attachment and self-control

Booth, Natalie, Derefaka, Gail, Khan, Roxanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3485-2450 and Brewer, Gayle orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0690-4548 (2023) Cyber intimate partner aggression in adulthood: The role of insecure attachment and self-control. Journal of Criminal Psychology . ISSN 2009-3829

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Purpose: This study builds on existing literature on face-to-face aggression in intimate relationships and adopts Finkel’s I3 theory to investigate the relationship between adult
attachment style, dispositional self-control, and cyber intimate partner aggression (IPA) perpetration and victimization.

Methods: Participants (N = 173) aged 20 to 52 (M = 32.75 years, SD = 7.73, mode = 29 years) completed a series of standardized online measures to assess anxious and avoidant attachment, dispositional self-control, and experience of cyber IPA (psychological, sexual, and stalking), as both a perpetrator and victim.

Findings: Avoidant attachment was associated with increased perpetration of stalking and psychological abuse. Those high on avoidant attachment were also more likely to report that they were victims of cyber IPA psychological abuse and stalking. Self-control did not predict experience of cyber IPA, as a perpetrator or victim. Interactions between self-control and attachment were also non-significant.

Originality: This study addressed the paucity of cyber IPA research conducted with adult populations, by examining processes and factors to improve understanding of the experiences of online perpetration and victimization. The study also found evidence for the importance of impellance factors but not inhibiting factors (Finkel, 2008)

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