Insecure Attachment, Maladaptive Personality Traits, and the Perpetration of In-Person and Cyber Psychological Abuse

Nghi H. Bui, Dave S. Pasalich*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Although past findings show that insecure attachment and maladaptive personality traits confer risk for perpetrating intimate partner violence (IPV), little is known about how these factors may underpin psychological abuse (PA) committed in-person and via technology. This study examined whether borderline personality disorder (BPD) traits and psychopathic traits account for indirect effects of insecure attachment on the perpetration of face-to-face and cyber PA. Participants included a community-based sample (N = 200; Mage = 22.28 years) in Australia who completed a battery of online questionnaires. Results from bivariate correlations showed that elevated levels of attachment anxiety and avoidance, and higher scores on BPD traits and psychopathic traits, were significantly associated with the perpetration of both face-to-face and cyber PA. Findings from mediation analysis indicated that attachment anxiety was indirectly linked with the perpetration of both forms of PA via elevated scores on BPD traits and psychopathic traits. High levels of psychopathic traits accounted for the indirect effects of attachment avoidance on both forms of PA. Results support the theory that insecure attachment and maladaptive personality functioning might be involved in the development and/or maintenance of the perpetration of PA. These findings have implications for preventive and treatment programs for the perpetration of IPV in terms of shedding new light on potential risk factors for engagement in face-to-face and technology-based PA.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2117-2139
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
    Volume36
    Issue number5-6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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