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Journal Article


Hlavaty K, Haselschwerdt ML. J. Fam. Violence 2019; 34(8): 757-767.


(Copyright © 2019, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






Coercive control--a relational dynamic rooted in one romantic partner's intentional domination and control over their partner's daily life using physical violence and nonphysical abuse tactics--has been well-documented in the adult domestic violence (DV) literature for decades. Yet, only recently has coercive control been assessed in the context of DV exposure and few studies have examined exposure to coercive control from the perspective of young adult children. It has been theorized that the inclusion of coercive control may explain inconsistent findings regarding the impact of DV exposure on adjustment domains, particularly peer relationships. Thus, the present study, using an exploratory and formative perspective, examined the relationship between DV exposure and peer relationship experiences (e.g., bullying victimization and perpetration, friendship quality) among a sample of DV-exposed young adults. Data for this study comes from phase two of the Young Adult Live and Learn (Y'ALL) Project. The sample (72.1% female; 74.1% European American) included young adults who were exposed to DV (n = 99) and young adults who were not exposed to DV (n = 48). Exposure to coercive control, controlling for physical violence exposure, was associated with higher levels of bullying victimization and better friendship quality, whereas exposure to more frequent physical violence was associated with higher levels of bullying perpetration.

FINDINGS from the present study add to the growing body of literature demonstrating the salience of measuring coercive control when studying youth DV exposure, as coercive control may better explain outcomes, such as peer relationship experiences, above and beyond assessments of physical violence exposure alone.

Language: en


Adolescence; Coercive control; Domestic violence exposure; Peer relationships


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