Sex differences in intimate partner violence and the use of coercive control as a motivational factor for intimate partner violence

Marieh Tanha, Connie J.A. Beck, Aurelio José Figueredo, Chitra Raghavan

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73 Scopus citations


Research argues that coercive control (CC) is a special case of intimate partner violence (IPV). The present study hypothesized that instead CC is the motivator for other types of IPV, with control of the victim as the goal. When CC fails, physical types of IPV are used. This hypothesized relationship was tested using a large matched sample of 762 divorcing couples participating in divorce mediation. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data with CC predicting two latent common factors of the overall level of victimization separately for men and women. Significant causal relationships between CC and the latent construct of victimization for both members of the couples were found. In addition, CC, psychological abuse, sexual assault/intimidation/coercion, threats of and severe physical violence were disproportionately reported as perpetrated by men against women whereas reports of physical abuse (e.g., pushing, shoving, scratching) were not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1836-1854
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 7 2010



  • coercive control
  • intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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