Emotion regulation and experiential avoidance in intimate partner violence

Amie Langer, Erika Lawrence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


Despite extensive research demonstrating the prevalence and consequences of physical intimate partner violence (IPV), the literature currently lacks an evidence-based, theoretical framework within which to understand the factors that influence this behavior. Furthermore, current IPV treatments based on the Duluth and cognitive-behavioral models are limited in their efficacy. Drawing from a contextual behavioral science (CBS) approach and recent advances in research on therapeutic processes of change, the purpose of this chapter is to examine processes that may elucidate the development of novel, empirically-supported treatments that are more effective than our existing IPV interventions. Specifically, we introduce a framework to guide basic and translational research in the investigation of emotion dysregulation and experiential avoidance as functionally linked to IPV perpetration. Our rationale is outlined and supported throughout four sections. First, the psychological correlates of IPV are summarized. Second, the preliminary work on emotion regulation and experiential avoidance in IPV perpetrators is reviewed. Third, a variety of research is integrated to inform our presentation of a clinically useful framework wherein IPV is primarily maintained by negative reinforcement in the form of escape from, or avoidance of, unwanted internal experiences, and recommendations for future research is offered. Finally, we delineate the clinical implications of this framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Psychology Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781617619533
ISBN (Print)9781608760015
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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