Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Tamara Del Vecchio

Second Advisor

Raymond DiGiuseppe

Third Advisor

Robin Wellington


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread concern that has been associated with a number of negative outcomes, including mental health problems, and is especially prevalent among young adults (Black, 2011; Miller & McCaw, 2019). Anger has been identified as a risk factor for IPV perpetration, however not all instances of anger within a relationship result in the perpetration of IPV (Birkley & Eckhardt, 2015, Baumeister & Boden, 1998). Impulsivity has been proposed as a possible explanation for why some but not all instances of anger lead to aggression (Baumeister & Boden, 1998). Furthermore, some literature has suggested an interaction between anger and impulsivity in their association with IPV perpetration (Finkel, 2007; Derefinko et al., 2011; Whiteside & Lynam, 2001). Thus, the current study examined the anger – IPV relation through the lens of impulsivity as a moderating variable in a population of undergraduate college students. It was hypothesized that impulsivity would moderate the relation between partner anger and IPV perpetration, such that higher levels of total partner anger would be associated with greater IPV perpetration (physical and psychological IPV), for those participants who scored higher on impulsivity. It was also hypothesized that higher levels of externalizing anger would be associated with greater IPV perpetration (physical and psychological IPV and that higher levels of internalizing anger would be associated with less IPV perpetration (physical and psychological IPV). A sample of 241 undergraduate students currently in a romantic relationship ages 18-24 completed self-report measures assessing impulsivity, psychological and physical partner violence, and intimate partner anger. Findings from this study indicated that higher levels of partner anger were associated with greater perpetration of both physical and psychological IPV, and that higher impulsivity levels were associated with greater perpetration of psychological IPV. However, impulsivity did not moderate the relation between anger and IPV perpetration. Findings highlight the need for future research with more multidimensional measures of impulsivity to investigate the ways that anger and impulsivity are related to IPV perpetration in young adults, and have implications for clinical practice and the development of interventions for IPV perpetrators.