Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

First Advisor

Angela J. Narayan

Second Advisor

Anne DePrince

Third Advisor

Julia Dmitrieva

Fourth Advisor

Galena Rhoades

Fifth Advisor

Jennifer Bellamy


Emotion dysregulation, Emotion regulation, Intimate partner aggression, Intimate partner violence, Pregnancy, Prenatal


Intimate partner aggression (IPA) during pregnancy is a significant public health problem that has negative consequences for maternal and fetal health. This study examined emotion dysregulation as a potential predictor of IPA during pregnancy from a dyadic perspective. Participants were 113 couples expecting a baby and included 113 mothers (MOBs; Mage = 27.50 years, SDage = 5.53, rangeage = 19-40; 38.1% White, 24.8% Latinx, 15.9% African American, 14.2% biracial/multiracial, 3.5% Asian American/Pacific Islander, 2.7% Native American and .8% other) and 113 fathers (FOBs; Mage = 29.83 years, SDage = 7.61, rangeage = 18-55; 38.1% White, 22.1% African American, 20.4% Latinx, 17.7% biracial/multiracial, .9% Asian/Pacific Islander, .8% other). Participants completed the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale and the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale about their own dysregulation and their partner’s. Actor partner interdependence models (APIMs) examined whether actor and partner emotion dysregulation were associated with actor aggression during pregnancy. Correlation and cross tabulation were also used to examine perception of one’s partner’s emotion dysregulation and its association with IPA. APIM results indicated that while total emotion dysregulation was not significantly related to aggression, impulse control difficulties when upset had a significant actor and partner effect on actor aggression towards partner during pregnancy. Additional results indicated that FOBs’ reports of MOBs’ emotion dysregulation were not significantly correlated with MOBs’ self-reported emotion dysregulation, while MOBs’ reports of FOBs’ emotion dysregulation were significantly moderately correlated with FOBs’ self-reported emotion dysregulation. For couples in which aggression was endorsed, there were substantial levels of disagreement between partners about the presence of IPA. This study identified actor and partner impulse control difficulties when upset as a predictor of IPA during pregnancy and a potential treatment target for couples at risk for or engaging in situational couple violence. Furthermore, findings underscore the lack of agreement between partners when reporting IPA, necessitating the study of IPA and emotion dysregulation as relational phenomena through dyadic approaches. Prenatal service providers should therefore consider that each partner’s report of IPA may not agree within couples, so assessment and screening strategies may optimally serve at-risk parents-to-be if they ask both members for their perspectives.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Victoria M. Atzl


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

85 pgs


Clinical psychology

Available for download on Thursday, September 26, 2024