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Title:What makes control coercive?
Author(s):Crossman, Kimberly A
Director of Research:Hardesty, Jennifer L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hardesty, Jennifer L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Raffaelli, Marcela; Oswald, Ramona F.; Johnson, Michael P
Department / Program:Human & Community Development
Discipline:Human & Community Development
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):intimate partner violence
coercive control
grounded theory
Abstract:The construct coercive control is central to making distinctions between Johnson’s (2008) types of intimate partner violence. Prior research has involved examining coercive control in conjunction with physical violence, rather than on its own. Thus, it remains unknown whether and how coercive control can be disentangled from physical violence and its effects. Furthermore, there is a lack of clarity in how to distinguish control that is coercive from control dynamics that are a part of all relationships. The present study used grounded theory methods to develop a theoretical explanation of the processes of control in intimate relationships and what makes control coercive. Data collection consisted of in-depth interviews with mothers regarding their experiences of coercive control and intimate partner violence during marriage and after separation. “Felt or experienced constraint” was the theoretical category identified as central to the process of control, but two distinct patterns were involved in producing this phenomenon. The first pattern, constraint through commitment, involved a process of being constrained by oneself or one’s partner to uphold cultural conventions of heterosexual marriage and parenting. The second pattern, constraint through force, involved a process of being controlled in a targeted and systematic way by one’s partner. Study findings reveal important variations in control processes, namely differences between control that is and is not coercive, and provide an understanding of control that is not contingent on physical violence. Increased knowledge gained from this study can inform measurement development for assessing coercive control and be applied to healthcare and legal interventions to address diverse experiences of control and violence.
Issue Date:2015-04-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Kimberly Crossman
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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