Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2014, 16 pp. doi: 10.1177/0886260514539850


Copyright © 2014 Rosalita C. Maldonado, Laura E. Watkins, and David DiLillo; published by Sage Publications. Used by permission.


The current study examined three well-established risk factors for intimate partner aggression (IPA) within Finkel and Eckhardt’s I3 model, including two impellance factors—trait anger and childhood physical abuse history—and the disinhibiting factor of alcohol consumption. Participants were 236 male and female college students in a committed heterosexual dating relationship who completed a battery of self-report measures assessing childhood physical abuse, trait anger, alcohol consumption, and IPA perpetration. Results revealed a significant three-way interaction showing that as the disinhibition factor alcohol consumption increased, the interaction of the two impelling factors, trait anger and childhood physical abuse, became increasingly more positive. Individuals who had high levels of childhood physical abuse and alcohol consumption were at greater risk of IPA perpetration when trait anger was high. Consistent with the I3 model, these findings suggest that trait anger and a history of childhood physical abuse may increase tendencies to aggress against one’s partner, whereas alcohol consumption may reduce individuals’ abilities to manage these aggressive tendencies. The importance of interplay among these risk factors in elevating IPA risk is discussed, as are the implications for clinicians working with male and female IPA perpetrators.