Evolutionary Psychological Science

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 113–120 | Cite as

Mate Value Discrepancy and Attachment Anxiety Predict the Perpetration of Digital Dating Abuse

  • Manpal Singh BhogalEmail author
  • Jessica M. Howman
Research Article


Research suggests that individual differences in attachment style predict the perpetration of digital dating abuse. In addition to attachment style, no research, to our knowledge, has explored the role of mate value in the perpetration of digital dating abuse. In this paper, we argue that digital dating abuse is a contemporary cost-inflicting mate retention behaviour, where larger mate value discrepancies between partners are associated with higher levels of digital dating abuse (n = 167). As expected, high mate value discrepancy and attachment anxiety were associated with high levels of digital dating abuse. We provide novel support for the relationship between mate value discrepancy and digital dating abuse. Our findings provide support for additional, unexplored factors which lead to the perpetration of digital dating abuse.


Attachment style Mate value discrepancy Mate retention Digital dating abuse Romantic relationships 



We thank James E Bartlett, Robert Dempsey, Alison Owen and Maria Panagiotidi for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, Department of Psychology, School of Life Sciences and EducationStaffordshire UniversityStoke-on-TrentUK
  2. 2.School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural SciencesCoventry UniversityCoventryUK

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