Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work

Summer 6-18-2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Salina Renninger, Bryana French


Psychological aggression is a form of intimate partner violence (IPV) that, despite increased public awareness and development of intervention programs, continues to pose harm to a significant amount of relationships regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Though research has begun to delve into the topic of psychological IPV, literature fails to clearly identify the frequency of and motivations behind these violent acts. Research of specific demographic groups will lead to clarity of identified motivations and contribute to formulating more comprehensive treatment recommendations. This study expanded upon an original study completed by Elmquist et al. (2016) which compared the relationship between gender identity and motivations for psychological aggression among college students. The following areas were examined: 1) the frequency of psychological aggression overall; and 2) the motivations behind psychological aggression related to an individual’s gender and sexual orientation. Perpetration of psychological aggression was identified in 82.2 percent of the total sample (N = 107). Stress was identified as a top-rated motivation behind psychologically aggressive acts. Some significant differences were found across motivational categories (categorization based on Langhinrichsen-Rohling, et al., 2012; Elmquist et al., 2016) and when analyzing individual motivational items between identified genders and sexual orientations. When controlling for the factors of gender and sexual orientation, a specific motivational reason was not identified as contributing to higher perpetration rates of psychological aggression. Implications and suggestions for future research, treatment, and educational programs were provided.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.