Reconciliation or retaliation? An integrative model of postrelationship in-person and cyber unwanted pursuit perpetration among undergraduate men and women.

Objective: Whereas several theories (i.e., attachment theory, coercive control theory, relational goal pursuit theory) have been proposed to predict perpetration of unwanted pursuit behavior (UPBs; i.e., unwanted or persistent pursuit) following romantic relationships, there have been few attempts at theory integration, and little focus on cyber UPB perpetration. The present study assessed an integrated model of in-person and cyber UPB perpetration proposed by Davis, Swan, and Gambone (2012) toward former partners among undergraduate men and women. Method: Undergraduates (N = 1,167, 67% women) who experienced a break-up in the past 3 years completed an online survey assessing in-person and cyber UPB perpetration toward a former partner. Results: The integrated model was supported, with 2 primary pathways to UPB perpetration: one based on relational goal pursuit theory (i.e., reconciliation motives), associated with minor UPBs, and another based on coercive control theory (i.e., retaliation motives), associated more strongly with severe in-person, severe cyber, and minor cyber UPBs. Tests of indirect effects revealed effects of self-control difficulties and possessiveness on UPB perpetration primarily along the coercive control pathway, with effects of anxious attachment primarily along the reconciliation pathway. There were few gender differences among the models; however, men’s IPV perpetration was more strongly associated with engagement in severe UPBs than was women’s IPV perpetration. Conclusions: Reconciliation or love-based motives may underlie minor UPBs, whereas retaliation/control motives may underlie severe UPBs. Possessiveness/jealousy and self-control difficulties should be assessed as potential predictor of UPBs, and IPV prevention programs should include UPBs in their curricula. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)