Attachment Styles, Alcohol, and Childhood Experiences of Abuse: An Analysis of Physical Violence in Dating Couples
This study examined individual and partner characteristics that contribute to the propensity for physical violence in couples. In a sample of 171 heterosexual dating couples, each partner completed measures assessing experienced childhood abuse, alcohol use, alcohol expectancies, attachment, and relationship length. Physically violent men reported more abuse from each parent, greater alcohol use, anxious attachment, and a longer relationship. Their female partner reported more childhood abuse by the father and reciprocal perpetrated violence. Physically violent women reported more abuse from the father, greater alcohol use, aggressive alcohol expectancies, and a longer relationship. Their male partner reported greater abuse from the mother, greater alcohol use, and reciprocal perpetrated violence. This study demonstrates the importance of considering how each individual’s characteristics within a dyad contribute to increased propensity for dating violence.