Articulated Thoughts of Maritally Violent and Nonviolent Men During Anger Arousal

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The cognitive correlates of anger arousal were investigated in community-based samples of maritally violent (MV), maritally distressed-nonviolent (DNV), and maritally satisfied-nonviolent (SNV) husbands. Participants performed the Articulated Thoughts in Simulated Situations (ATSS) paradigm while listening to anger-arousing audiotapes. Trained raters coded for irrational beliefs, cognitive biases, hostile attributional biases, and anger control statements. Results indicated that MV men articulated significantly more irrational thoughts and cognitive biases than DNV and SNV men. MV men articulated more hostile attributional biases than DNV and SNV men across all ATSS scenarios. SNV men, however, articulated more anger control statements during ATSS anger arousal than MV or DNV participants. Discriminant function analyses indicated that specific thoughts discriminated between the groups and differentiated mildly from severely violent participants. ATSS cognitive distortions (a) were not correlated with questionnaire measures of cognitive distortion, and (b) were superior to questionnaire measures in discriminating between the groups. The findings are interpreted in light of recent advances in understanding the relationship between information processing, anger, and marital aggression.

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