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Journal Article


Willie TC, Sharpless L, Katague M, Kershaw T. Public Health Rep. (1974) 2024; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2024, Association of Schools of Public Health)






OBJECTIVE: During times of crises, women are at elevated risk for intimate partner violence (IPV), but extant discourse fails to consider how this landscape amplifies disparities for Black women. This study examined the prevalence and associations of COVID-19 pandemic-specific coercive control and COVID-19-related stress among Black women experiencing IPV.

METHODS: Fifty-five Black women reporting past-year IPV participated in a prospective cohort study in 2020 and completed surveys on pandemic-specific coercive control, COVID-19-related stress, and sociodemographic characteristics. A subset of 15 participants completed semi-structured interviews in 2021. We conducted multivariable regression analyses to examine associations between coercive control and stress. We used interpretive phenomenological analysis to contextualize women's experiences of coercive control and stress during the pandemic.

RESULTS: In the past 3 months, 76% (42 of 55) of women had a partner blame them for exposing them to COVID-19, 74% (41 of 55) had a partner minimize their pandemic concerns, and 52% (29 of 55) had a partner prevent them from getting a COVID-19 test. A higher average of pandemic-specific coercive control was associated with greater severity of COVID-19-related traumatic stress (b [SE] = 0.033 [0.009]; P = .001) and socioeconomic consequences related to COVID-19 (b [SE] = 0.019 [0.008]; P = .03). We identified 3 superordinate themes that illustrated Black women's experiences: (1) coercive control, (2) pandemic-driven shifts in relational context, and (3) women's structural and psychosocial stressors.

CONCLUSIONS: Experiencing coercive control during the pandemic interfered with Black women's engagement in preventive behaviors, which exacerbated distress. Intersectional public health efforts should address sociostructural and relational factors to prevent coercive control and stress among Black women experiencing IPV.

Language: en


Black women; COVID-19; intimate partner violence; stress


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