McKibbin, W. F., Goetz, A. T., Shackelford, T. K., Schipper, L., Starratt, V. G., & Stewart-Williams, S. (2007). Why do men insult their partners? Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 231-241.

Why do men insult their intimate partners?

William F. McKibbin a, Aaron T. Goetz a, Todd K. Shackelford a, Lucas D. Schipper a, Valerie G. Starratt a, Steve Stewart-Williams b

aFlorida Atlantic University
b McMaster University


Men sometimes insult their intimate partners and these insults predict intimate partner violence. No research has investigated the function of men’s partner-directed insults. We hypothesize that men’s partner-directed
insults are designed to retain their long-term mate and, therefore, that men’s use of partner-directed insults will covary with other mate retention behaviors. Using the mate retention inventory and the partner-directed insults scale, we conducted two studies to test this hypothesis. Study 1 included 245 men who reported their mate retention behaviors and partner-directed insults. Correlations and multiple regression analyses documented the predicted relationships between men’s partner-directed insults and mate retention behaviors. Study 2 included 372 women who reported their partner’s mate retention behaviors and insults that their partner-directed at them. The results replicated the results of Study 1. Discussion highlights future directions for investigating the relationships between men’s partner-directed insults and mate retention behaviors.

Read more