American Psychological Association
The purpose of the present study was to test a relational spillover model of physical aggression whereby physical aggression affects marital outcomes due to its effects on how spouses ask for and provide support to one another. Newlywed couples (n = 172) reported levels of physical aggression over the past year and engaged in interactions designed to elicit social support; marital adjustment, and stability were assessed periodically over the first 10 years of marriage. Multilevel modeling revealed that negative support behavior mediated the relationship between physical aggression and 10-year marital adjustment levels whereas positive support behavior mediated the relationship between physical aggression and divorce status. These findings emphasize the need to look beyond conflict when explaining how aggression affects relationships and when working with couples with a history of physical aggression who are seeking to improve their relationships.
Sullivan, K.T., Pasch, Lauri A., Lawrence, E.E., & Bradbury, T.N. (2015). Physical aggression, compromised social support, and 10-year marital outcomes: Testing a relational spillover model. Journal of Family Psychology, 29, 931-937.