Cognitive Reframing of Intimate Partner Aggression: Social and Contextual Influences

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Nov 5;15(11):2464. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15112464.


Intimate partner aggression violates U.S. culturally-accepted standards regarding how partners should treat each other. Victims must reconcile the dissonance associated with being in what should be a loving and supportive relationship, while being in the same relationship that is personally and deeply harmful. To manage these clashing cognitions, victims consciously and unconsciously adopt perceptions to reframe their partner's aggression, minimizing and reinterpreting the occurrence or impact of aggressive acts, and justifying remaining in their relationship. The paper examines the multiple and nested influences that shape such perceptions, including individual, partner, relationship, and cultural factors. Each type of influence is discussed by reviewing previous research and including accounts from women who had experienced aggression. Greater awareness of such perceptions may afford greater control in changing harmful relationship patterns.

Keywords: coping with IPA or IPV; intimate partner aggression; perceptions of IPA or IPV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression*
  • Culture
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intimate Partner Violence / psychology*
  • Perception