Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Tamara Del Vecchio

Second Advisor

Dana L Chesney


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a prevalent problem, especially among college students. The serious physical and psychological consequences of IPV highlight the need to better understand its correlates. Individuals tend to process information and make decisions in different ways; these styles of thinking and decision likely hold important implications for intimate partnerships. Using a sample of undergraduate students, the current study aims to better understand the thinking processes of those who engage in IPV. Furthering our understanding of the cognitive processes that predict IPV may hold important treatment implications, both from a preventive and therapeutic standpoint. Previous studies show that IPV occurs under conditions of diminished control resources. Reflective processing is a style of thinking and decision-making that depends on the use of control resources. We therefore hypothesized that reflective processing at baseline, measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), would be negatively associated with IPV perpetration. Few studies examine the importance of reflective processing in predicting IPV, and no studies that we know of have used the CRT in examining this relation. Because IPV occurs in ‘hot,’ emotional contexts, we also examined the impact of negative emotion on reflective processing. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, either anger or neutral mood induction, and completed CRT items both pre- and post-induction. Based on previous research showing that anger triggers shallow processing, we hypothesized that participants in the anger mood condition would experience a greater decline in reflective processing from pre- to post-induction than those in the neutral mood condition. Based on theories of emotional flooding and the General Aggression Model (GAM), we also predicted that the anger mood induction would have a stronger negative effect on reflective processing for those reporting more extensive IPV perpetration. Results did not support our hypotheses; the implications of the null findings are discussed.