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Motivations for Psychological Aggression Among Dating College Students

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There is a growing impetus within the field of aggression research to further elucidate the risk factors, predictors, and correlates of dating violence (DV), particularly among dating couples. Of particular importance is understanding the proximal motivations, or reasons, for DV and whether these motivations differ for men and women. Research examining the motivations for DV has focused almost entirely on physical violence, and findings regarding gender differences in DV motivations have been mixed (Langhinrichsen-Rohling, McCullars, & Misra, 2012). To our knowledge, limited research has examined the motivations for psychological aggression among dating college students, and no research has directly compared men and women's motivations for psychological aggression. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the motivations for psychological aggression among dating college students (N = 216), and whether these motivations differed by gender. Results demonstrated that expression of negative emotions, jealousy, and communication difficulties were the most frequently endorsed motive categories for both men and women. Men and women did not differ on any motive category. Despite the preliminary nature of this study, several research and clinical implications are addressed.
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Keywords: DATING VIOLENCE; GENDER; MOTIVATIONS; PSYCHOLOGICAL AGGRESSION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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