Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



The three studies in this dissertation were posed with the common goal of revealing possible explanations for variations in the causes and consequences of interpersonal violence across regional cultures of the United States. Study 1 posed and tested two hypotheses related to the distribution of male-perpetrated intimate partner homicide across regions of the United States. The South and West, two regions characterized in full (the South) or in part (the West) by honor cultures, emerged as the regions with the highest rates of argument- and conflict- related, male-on-female intimate partner homicides in single victim/single offender incidents. Explanations provided at the individual level for cross-regional variation in the experience of severe intimate partner violence were explored in Studies 2 and 3, which had two goals. One, to determine whether the common pattern of mutual IPV in violent couples holds within the male-dominated, characteristically more violent honor cultures of the United States. Second, to determine if certain honor-based norms and values, which have been previously linked to male violence in honor cultures (Vandello, Cohen, and Ransom, 2008), can also help explain the higher rates of IPV perpetrated by women in honor cultures. Two hypotheses related to differences between honor and nonhonor cultures in severity of violence attributed to certain reasons or circumstances failed to receive support in Study 3, as well as the more general hypothesis predicting males in honor cultures will perpetrate more severe forms of IPV than males from nonhonor cultures. Results testing the final hypothesis revealed that an interaction effect between self-reported honor culture identification and subjective honor/nonhonor designation is a significant predictor of the severity of IPV victimization experienced by females. Additional findings from this analysis revealed that as severity of perpetrated tactics increased, the severity of tactics experienced as a victim also increased significantly; this finding is consistent with previous research on the mutual nature of IPV in violent couples. A number of future directions for interpersonal and intercultural research are suggested.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Honeycutt, James



Included in

Communication Commons