First Advisor

Eric Mankowski

Date of Publication

Summer 7-23-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology






Sex role, Relationship quality, Intimate partner violence, Psychological abuse, Masculinity, Femininity



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 287 pages)


This dissertation identified and developed indicators of a new potential predictor of relationship satisfaction and intimate partner violence (IPV): discrepancies between the ideal and perceived gendered characteristics of romantic partners. Past research has overlooked the implicitly gendered nature of these "partner-ideals." Two pilot studies were conducted to develop measures of gendered partner-ideals and -perceptions based on existing measures of gender ideology.

The main study examined survey data collected online from adults (n = 643) living in the U.S. who were in a heterosexual romantic relationship for at least six months. Three main hypotheses were tested regarding the associations among gender ideology, gendered partner-ideals, gendered partner-perceptions, gendered partner-ideal discrepancies, relationship satisfaction, and experiences with IPV.

While confirmatory factor analyses supported the reliability of the new measures of masculine-ideals and -perceptions, results did not support the hypothesized factor structure of the feminine measures. Thus, only hypotheses utilizing women's data were tested. This measurement limitation resulted in an unanticipated focus on women's IPV perpetration for Hypothesis Two. However, these data are valuable in their uniqueness.

Hypothesis One was supported: women's masculinity ideology positively correlated with the corresponding masculine-ideal for each subscale of the respective measures as well as for the aggregate measures. Tests of Hypothesis Two showed that women's masculine-ideal discrepancies predicted their emotional abuse perpetration, but not their physical assault or injury perpetration, mediated by relationship satisfaction. However, this effect was small. Hypothesis Three had mixed support. Women's aggregate masculine-partner perceptions were positively associated with their reports of emotional abuse victimization. Additionally, women's reports of most types of IPV victimization positively correlated with perceptions of their male partners' conformity to the specific norms of negativity toward sexual minorities and restrictive emotionality.

Contributions of this dissertation and implications of the results are discussed. A major contribution is the creation of masculine-ideals and -perceptions measures that can be used in future research on relationships. Study results suggest that gendered partner-ideals and -perceptions, beyond gender-ideology, have relevance to the functioning of romantic relationships--including both relationship satisfaction and some kinds of IPV. Future research should continue to investigate the validity of the created measures and explore the possibility of using discrepancies between gendered partner-ideals and -perceptions to prevent and intervene in abusive romantic relationships.


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