Articulated Cognitive Distortions and Cognitive Deficiencies in Maritally Violent Men

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Abstract

Twenty maritally violent (MV) and 20 maritally satisfied, nonviolent men (SNV) participated in an Articulated Thoughts in Simulated Situations (ATSS) assessment. Participants listened to audiotaped interpersonal interactions and articulated their thoughts at 30-second intervals. As predicted by Holtzworth-Munroe's (1992) information processing model of marital violence, MV participants emitted more global irrational beliefs and automatic thoughts, especially in response to interactions designed to induce anger. MV men also emitted a greater number of specific cognitive distortions (Demandingness, Low Frustration Tolerance, Global Self/Other Ratings, Arbitrary Inference, Overgeneralization, Magnification, and Dichotomous Thinking statements). In contrast, SNV men emitted more Anger Control statements during anger arousal, indicating that MV men may have a deficiency in generating effective conflict resolution strategies. Implications of these data in terms of information processing theories of marital anger and aggression are discussed.

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