Young Adult Dating Violence and Coercive Control: A Comparative Analysis of Men and Women’s Victimization and Perpetration Experiences

Date of Award

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Ambika Krishnakumar


coercive control, dating violence, gender, intimate partner violence, sexual violence

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study provides a comparative analysis of young adult men and women’s experiences of dating violence and coercive control using a feminist theoretical framework, and tests the applicability of Johnson’s typology of intimate partner violence to young adult dating relationships. Participants reported on their experiences of violence and coercive control, as well as resulting mental health outcomes, injury, and fearfulness of their partner in a recent dating relationship (past or current; casual or committed), as well as individual gender ideologies and attitudes toward intimate partner violence. In the current study, nearly one-quarter of young adults experienced violent dating relationships, 44% experienced abusive relationships (high levels of coercive control and/or violence), and nearly one-fifth experienced highly coercively controlling relationships (no violence). Despite some similarities in men and women’s experiences of dating violence, women were more likely to have experienced multiple forms of violence, be victims of sexual violence, and to experience significantly greater injury and fear toward abusive partners, thus supporting the idea of gender asymmetry in dating violence. Hypergender ideologies and accepting attitudes toward intimate partner violence also predicted the use of coercive control for women and men, and physical violence perpetration for women. Additional typologies of violence were found in addition to those proposed by Johnson.


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