Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a problematic and important social phenomenon (World Health Organization [WHO], 2021) that has been repeatedly linked to attachment insecurities (Velotti et al., 2020). However, the mechanisms linking these two variables remain understudied. This study examines the direct and indirect associations between attachment insecurities (anxiety and avoidance) and perpetration of IPV (psychological, physical, sexual, coercive control) through the use of dysfunctional communication patterns (i.e., demand/demand, I demand/my partner withdraws, my partner demands/I withdraw) and lower relationship satisfaction.
A sample of 613 men and non-binary people who consulted organizations providing help to individuals with relationship or IPV-related difficulties answered online questionnaires. A path analysis was conducted to test the direct and indirect associations between attachment insecurities and perpetrated IPV through communication patterns and relationship satisfaction.
The results showed a direct and positive association between attachment anxiety and perpetration of coercive control, and an indirect and positive association between attachment insecurities and psychological violence through the demand/demand pattern. The results also revealed an indirect and positive association between attachment anxiety and psychological violence, sexual violence, and coercive control through the I demand/my partner withdraws pattern. Finally, an indirect and positive association was observed between attachment insecurities and all types of violence studied through lower relationship satisfaction.
This study provides key individual and relational correlates of IPV perpetration that can inform prevention and intervention among men and non-binary people.