Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Gregory L. Stuart

Committee Members

Todd M. Moore, Deborah P. Welsh, Spencer Olmstead


Power and the abuse of such power is an important mechanism through which intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs and a major tenant of many theories that purport to explain IPV. While some research has examined the links between aspects of relational power and IPV, the examination of power processes has been limited to mostly self-report measures. The current study assesses power processes through observational interactions of direct communication between (n = 150) college student dating partners. In general, the hypotheses that observed power processes would be related to IPV over time were only partially supported, suggesting that although relationships between power processes and psychological and physical aggression have been found in cross-sectional studies, these relationships may not be as robust over time. Additionally, when relationships between power processes and psychological and physical aggression perpetration and victimization did emerge, these relationships were more often related to women’s perpetration and victimization than they were to men’s aggression. Finally, across all models of psychological and physical aggression perpetration and victimization, self-reported aggression perpetration and victimization at baseline and three-month follow up predicted additional aggression perpetration and victimization over time for both men and women. Implications for future research and treatment are discussed.

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