Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Todd M. Moore

Committee Members

Deborah L. Rhatigan, James K. McNulty


The proposed project examined the temporal association between three forms of angry affect and dating violence among a sample of college students using electronic daily diary assessment methodology. It was hypothesized that the odds of dating violence would be greater on days of angry affect relative to days of no angry affect. It was also hypothesized that relevant distal variables would moderate this association, although examination of the direction of such effects was exploratory in nature.

Participants were 184 men and women attending a large university in Tennessee. Participants completed a baseline survey packet assessing distal variables. They were also trained to answer daily surveys indicating whether angry affect (irritable, angry, and hostile) and dating violence occurred (verbal, physical and sexual) on the prior day and whether the angry affect immediately preceded seeing their partner. Surveys were completed daily for a period of two months.

Results indicated that younger age, shorter length of relationship, lower relationship satisfaction, greater psychopathology, greater past perpetration of IPV, and more favorable attitudes toward violence were associated with greater odds of IPV. In addition, findings revealed that an increase in proximal irritable affect was associated with greater odds of verbal and sexual aggression, while an increase in proximal angry affect was associated with greater odds of verbal and physical aggression. Most notably, our results demonstrated that the risk for violence increased exponentially as the amount of irritable or angry affect increased by each one-unit increment. This study also assessed the impact of a number of distal factors on the relationship between angry affect and IPV. Positive moderators included length of relationship, drug use, antisocial personality, borderline personality, and perpetration of past physical and sexual violence. Negative moderators included age, alcohol use, PTSD symptomatology, and perpetration of past verbal violence.

These data are the first to provide evidence for the temporal relationship between angry affect and dating violence, as well as the role of distal variables on this relationship. These data have implications for the creation of relevant intervention programs targeting specific distal and proximal variables that increase risk for IPV in dating violence populations.

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