“He Could Scare Me Without Laying a Hand on Me”: Mothers’ Experiences of Nonviolent Coercive Control During Marriage and After Separation

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Studies demonstrate the negative effects of violent coercive control but few examine coercive control without violence. This study describes the characteristics of nonviolent coercive control among 8 divorcing mothers and compares them with 47 mothers who experienced violent coercive control or no violence/no control. Mothers with nonviolent coercive control reported more coping strategies, risk, harassment, and perceived threat than mothers with no violence/no control; similar levels of fear and control during marriage as mothers with violent coercive control; and more postseparation fear than both groups. Findings highlight the need to include nonviolent coercive control in screening methods and research measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-473
Number of pages20
JournalViolence Against Women
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • coercive control
  • divorce
  • intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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