Dyadic physical aggression in the relationships of 158 young, at-risk couples was examined as a predictor of relationship separation over the course of 6 years. A high prevalence of physical aggression and a high rate of separation were found, with 80% of couples engaging in physical aggression (as reported by either partner or as observed) and 62% separating over time. As predicted, physical aggression significantly increased the likelihood of relationship dissolution, even after accounting for psychological aggression, prior relationship satisfaction, and relationship contextual factors (length of relationship, relationship type, and children in the household). Of the contextual factors, relationship type was predictive of relationship dissolution: Married couples were least likely to dissolve their relationships compared with cohabiting and dating couples.
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