Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Intimate partner violence-Psychological aspects, Abusive men-Psychology, Abusive women-Psychology, Attachment behavior, Attachment behavior in infants, Attachment disorder, Transitional objects (Psychology), Affective disorders, Modern attachment theory, Domestic violence, Affect regulation, Affect tolerance scale, Experiences in close relationships, Neurobiology


This study used modern attachment theory as a framework for exploring intimate partner violence (IPV). It was the expectation of the researcher that using this framework would allow for a non-gendered approach; an approach that would be a step towards looking at IPV as the procedural enactment of an attachment style rather than as a victim/perpetrator dichotomy. Other studies have looked at intimate partner violence through attachment theory, though the unique factor in this study is its focus on affect tolerance. The purpose was to support or refute researcher's claims that affect regulation is predicated on one's attachment style. Using a small sample (N=67) of males and females court-ordered to attend offender treatment group as a result of a violent incident with their intimate partner, this study explored the relationship between affect tolerance and attachment style. The study employs the use of two self-report measures: the Affect Tolerance Scale (Fowler, J.C. (2008) Affect Tolerance Scale. Stockbridge, MA. Unpublished.) and the Experience in Close Relationships – short form (Wei, Meifen; Russel, Daniel W.; Mallinckrodt, Brent and Vogel, David L. (2007) Published). Findings of the study support claims of the interrelationship between affect regulation and insecure attachment styles. Further conclusions include an analysis of attachment styles of offenders who have maintained their violent relationships, and a combined-gender analysis. Clinical implications for such findings are discussed.




iv, 80 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 53-55)