Emotionally abusive behavior in young couples: exploring a role for implicit aggression.

Jane L. Ireland, Philip Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Emotionally abusive behaviors reported across a 6-month period in intimate relationships were examined. There were 269 participants aged 18-25 years who took part (98 men, 171 women). All completed the Multidimensional Measure of Emotional Abuse (MMEA) and a measure of implicit aggression, the Puzzle Test. Implicit processing refers to subtle cognitive processing that occurs outside of conscious awareness. This study focused on aggressive implicit processing. Overall emotional victimization by a partner was associated with increased implicit aggressive levels, particularly for women. Those classified as perpetrators/victims (mutual aggressors and victims) were also predicted by increased implicit aggression. Women reported higher levels of implicit aggression than men. Results are discussed regarding future research and the value of theory in understanding the association between emotional abuse and implicit aggression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-669
Number of pages14
JournalViolence and Victims
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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