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Clin Psychol Rev. 2005 Feb;25(2):119-52. Epub 2004 Dec 10.

Anger, hostility, and male perpetrators of intimate partner violence: a meta-analytic review.

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Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA.


There has been significant interest in, and controversy about, whether anger and hostility problems are meaningfully related to male-to-female intimate partner violence (IPV). In this meta-analytic review, we empirically evaluated whether the constructs of anger and hostility discriminated between IPV perpetrators and nonviolent comparison males. Thirty-three studies reporting data from 28 independent samples were included for analysis. IPV perpetrators consistently reported moderately higher levels of anger and hostility than nonviolent men across assessment methods (i.e., self-report, observational, and spouse-specific). In prior reviews, relationship distress has been proposed as a moderating variable between relationship distress and IPV. In this review, IPV perpetrators also consistently reported moderately higher levels of anger and hostility than relationship-discordant nonviolent men. Additionally, comparisons of subtypes of IPV perpetrators found that men in moderate-high severity IPV subtypes reported higher levels of anger and hostility than low-moderate IPV subtypes. While the pattern of results in this review suggests that elevated anger and hostility are distinguishing characteristics of IPV perpetrators, empirically based conclusions regarding the functional and contextual relationship between anger, hostility, and IPV remain elusive. The implications and limitations suggested by this review are discussed in the context of emerging models of anger and IPV and treatment programs for abusive men.

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