Autonomic arousal and relational aggression in heterosexual dating couples

Dianna Murray-Close, Ashley S. Holland, Glenn I. Roisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the association between romantic relational aggression and autonomic nervous system (ANS) arousal in the context of heterosexual dating couples (N = 115 couples). Results indicated that romantic relational aggression was associated with low resting sympathetic arousal, high resting parasympathetic arousal, and exaggerated fight or flight responses to a conflict discussion (sympathetic activation and parasympathetic withdrawal). However, ANS activity was more strongly associated with romantic relational aggression in the context of low-quality romantic relationships, and sympathetic activity was more strongly associated with aggression among females, whereas parasympathetic activity was more strongly associated with aggression among males. Results indicate that psychophysiological functioning may serve as a risk factor for the perpetration of relational aggression against romantic partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-218
Number of pages16
JournalPersonal Relationships
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

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