The authors explored the attachment dynamics of heterosexual couples identified for male partner violence. Based on semistructured interviews, participants were assessed for attachment orientations. Based on a thematic analysis of the interviews, two strategies for regulating distance within these relationships were identified: pursuit and distancing. Partners' abusive acts often appeared to serve one of these attachment strategies. As a pursuit strategy, violence forced one partner to focus on the other, and as a distancing strategy, violence served to push a partner back when the perpetrator had been approached too closely and perceived no other means of escape or self-protection. To understand the context in which individuals acted abusively, the authors considered the interaction between the attachment orientations of both partners as they sought to regulate their emotional and physical proximity. Findings highlight the relational basis of intimate violence.
- Attachment behavior
- Intimate partner violence
- Qualitative research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)