This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Dyadic Mediation Model Examining Associations Between Ineffective Arguing, Emotional Distress, and Violence Perpetration/Victimization in Couples Before Therapy




Lowery, Dylann Faith

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Science


Previous research has studied the associations between ineffective arguing and emotional distress without the context of violence (Bowles, 2018; Overall & McNulty, 2017), as well as the associations between violence perpetration and victimization and the aftermath of emotional distress (Kelly & Johnson, 2008; Spencer et al., 2016; Stith et al., 2011). However, research has not linked ineffective arguing with violence perpetration/victimization nor identified the pathways through which they are associated, such as emotional distress symptoms. Dyadic data from 231 married, heterosexual couples before receiving therapeutic services was used to explore dyadic associations between ineffective arguing to violence victimization and perpetration with emotional distress symptoms as a mediator. The hypothesized model was also compared to two other plausible alternative models and a number of important covariates were included. Results revealed that men’s higher levels of ineffective arguing were associated with men’s higher levels of violence perpetration, both directly as well as through his higher emotional distress; higher men’s ineffective arguing was associated with lower men’s violence perpetration through higher women’s emotional distress. The results from this study provide evidence to help support clinicians’ treatment of simultaneous interpersonal violence (both perpetration and victimization), ineffective arguing, and emotional distress and identify modifiable pathways through which they are associated.