Traumatic Bonding and Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence is a pervasive and highly detrimental phenomenon. One common aspect of abusive relationships is a reluctance to leave one’s partner. With this in mind, the current study explored the role of Stockholm syndrome in abusive relationships. Study 1 and 2 surveyed 508 diverse adults. Study 1 submitted the Stockholm syndrome scale to psychometric testing and confirmed a 3-factor solution for the scale. The three components are Core, justifying an abuser through cognitive distortions; Damage, ongoing psychological effects of abuse; and Love, the belief that one’s survival depends on the love of an abuser. Study 2 tested the predictive qualities of the scale and found that its components are linked to relationship violence in a predictable fashion. These links may be moderated by insecure attachment. Study 3 analysed dyadic data from 86 couples and found positive associations between levels of Core and relationship violence, both within and across partners. Implications and future directions are discussed.