Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Brittany Canady, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Marianna Footo-Linz

Third Advisor

Dr. Keith Beard

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Paige Muellerleile (in memoriam)


The use of aggression towards an intimate partner has been an increasingly concerning topic in the violence literature over the last five decades; however, many dimensions continue to lack clarity. Intimate partner violence (IPV) remains the most common form of violence committed against women worldwide with about 30% of women reporting a lifetime prevalence of physical and/or sexual violence by a partner (World Health Organization [WHO], 2019), often accompanied by psychological aggression (Larsen, 2016; Williams et al., 2012). Postural aggression is defined as a subtype of psychological aggression which consists of both direct and indirect forms of non-physical abuse; although, these behaviors do encompass physical undertones (Parrott & Giancola, 2007). The main purpose of this study was to better identify and understand these intimidating behaviors in partner relationships, potentially as a separate construct of psychological IPV. Participants (N = 539) identified frequency of a series of behaviors experienced in current or past romantic relationships, including postural aggression and other forms of psychological abuse, via an online questionnaire on Amazon MTurk. It was hypothesized that postural aggression would align as a distinct form of psychological abuse within the context of IPV. The PCA suggested the presence of three factors explaining 75.62% of total variance. Almost three-fourths of the posturally aggressive items did identify as a single factor, along with items from the two subscales of the MMEA, suggesting a link between these types of aggression. Future research investigating whether this subtype of psychological aggression is significantly distinct as its own separate construct, or if this distinction is the most important focus, is needed. It may also be more valuable to think of psychological aggression as a continuum of behaviors and their relationship as a precursor to more severe modes of partner aggression, thus redirecting the focus to early intervention and prevention of IPV in society.


Intimate partner violence -- Prevention.

Intimate partner violence -- Social aspects.

Family violence.