The roots of intimate partner violence

David S. Chester, C. Nathan DeWall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a paradoxical combination of affection and aggression. So why do people show an all-too-frequent tendency to harm their loved ones? Towards answering this question, we review a broad literature that explicates the ultimate and proximate roots of IPV perpetration. At the ultimate level, IPV perpetration is likely to be the result of evolutionary and socio-structural forces. Theories of aggression are then brought to bear in order to articulate the proximal sequence of psychological processes that magnify and constrain IPV. Interpersonal (e.g., rejection), intrapersonal (e.g., self-regulation), and biological (e.g., testosterone) factors are discussed in their relation to IPV perpetration. Finally, potentially fruitful avenues for intervention are evaluated, as exemplars of the hope that a robust understanding IPV perpetration will lead to the reduction of this costly behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The roots of intimate partner violence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this