Category: Violence / Aggression

Symposium

Relations among Adolescent Dating Aggression, Coercive Control, and Psychological and Somatic Symptomatology

Friday, November 17
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom B, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Intimate Partner Aggression | Couples / Close Relationships | Violence / Sexual Assault
Presentation Type: Symposium

Background: Physical and psychological dating aggression and coercive control have been found to be associated with such negative mental and physical health outcomes as higher levels of depression, suicidality, substance use, injury, and physical complaints (e.g., Exner-Cortens, Eckenrode, & Rothman, 2012; Haynie et al., 2013; Johnson & Leone, 2005). Psychologically aggressive behaviors—particularly those related to power and control—have been found to be more deleterious than physical aggression (e.g., Coker et al., 2002). However, relatively little research has focused on coercive control, especially in adolescent samples.



Method: The present study thus aimed to investigate the relations among psychological, physical, and coercively controlling dating aggression victimization and various aspects of adolescents’ functioning in a community sample of 187 Canadian adolescents (64% female; 64% White; Mage = 17.21, SD = 1.05, range = 15 - 20 years), as reported on normed-based measures of anxiety/depression, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, somatic symptoms, and externalizing behaviors (e.g., aggression, impulsivity, delinquency).



Results: As predicted, according to regression analyses using a bootstrapping method of resampling (n = 1,000), coercive control victimization was the most robust predictor. Experiencing coercive control at the hands of a romantic partner was predictive of somatic complaints, posttraumatic symptoms, and externalizing behaviors while controlling for psychological and physical dating aggression victimization. Psychological aggression victimization, on the other hand, was not significantly related to any of the forms of psychological symptomatology, and physical victimization was only predictive of externalizing symptoms (when controlling for the other two forms of dating aggression). None of the forms of dating aggression significantly predicted anxiety/depression symptoms.


Conclusions: Coercive control is an important factor to consider in adolescent dating relationships, and should thus be an area of focus for intimate partner violence researchers, clinicians, adolescents, and parents.

Patti A. Timmons Fritz

Associate Professor
University of Windsor

Presentation(s):

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Ala El Baba

Medical Student
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

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Relations among Adolescent Dating Aggression, Coercive Control, and Psychological and Somatic Symptomatology



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