Relationship Quality and Cognitive Reappraisal Moderate the Effects of Negative Urgency on Behavioral Inclinations Toward Aggression and Intimate Partner Violence

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Objective: Intimate partner violence refers to verbal and physical aggression occurring between people who are, or were formerly, in an intimate relationship. Using the I3 model framework, we examined the interactive influences of negative urgency (i.e., the tendency to act rashly when in a bad mood), relationship quality, and cognitive reappraisal on hostile vocalizations in response to simulated romantic jealousy. Method: We instructed 135 healthy male or female undergraduates in romantic relationships to use cognitive reappraisal or not. Participants then listened and verbally responded to jealousy-provoking dating scenarios while vocalizations were recorded. Results: Results indicated that cognitive reappraisal attenuated the positive association between negative urgency and aggressive vocalizations—but only for couples in high-quality relationships. Cognitive reappraisal also attenuated the negative association between relationship quality and vocalized negative affect in response to simulated romantic jealousy. Individual differences in negative urgency positively predicted vocalized negative affect and vocalized anger. Conclusions: Cognitive reappraisal may attenuate the effect of aggressive impellors on intimate partner violence but only when relationship quality is high. When relationship quality is low, cognitive reappraisal may not be effective.

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