Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Kristina C Gordon

Committee Members

Gregory L. Stuart, Todd M. Moore, Greer L. Fox

Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been shown to be highly prevalent during pregnancy, particularly for couples of low socioeconomic status. IPV poses an especially serious problem for pregnant women as it puts both mother and unborn child at risk for severe physical harm, including death. This investigation of potential risk factors for IPV during pregnancy examines alcohol use, stress, suspicion of infidelity, jealousy, and relationship discord from both a cross-sectional and longitudinal perspective. The overarching theoretical frameork for this study is based on Leonard's conceptual model of substance use and intimate partner violence in combination with evolutionary theory as discussed by Buss & Duntley's evolved homicide theory and Harris' social-cognitive theory. A sample of 180 pregnant women was collected in order to investigate 1) the extent to which alcohol use, stress, infidelity, jealousy, and relationship dissatisfaction predict intimate partner violence in this sample, and 2) to evaluate the potential moderating effects of alcohol use on the relationships between jealousy and intimate partner violence and stress and intimate partner violence. Results indicate that alcohol use was a salient predictor of several types of IPV victimization and the combination of partner alcohol use, jealousy, and suspicion of infidelity most strongly predicted severe physical victimization during the first 18 weeks of pregnancy. Results also indicate that alcohol mediated the relationship between jealousy and psychological and severe physical victimization. Implications for future research and clinical implications are discussed.

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