Anger in Intimate Relationships

  • Donald G. DuttonEmail author


I review studies of anger in intimate relationships: both the heightened incidence rates found and the motivational origin. While high levels of anger are reported in intimate relationships, this anger seems to be part of a more pervasive personality pattern that has heightened reactivity to real or symbolic abandonment – variously called “negative emotionality” or borderline personality. I characterize intimacy anger as a vestige of attachment insecurity and as an over-reactive, occasionally dysfunctional activation of the attachment behavioral system. This appears to have origins in temperament and parental rejection as well as parental abuse. This attachment origin appears to crystallize into a chronic personality disorder in some people, who then become at risk for intimate partner violence (IPV).


Personality Disorder Attachment Style Insecure Attachment Borderline Personality Disorder Anxious Attachment 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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