Faculty Publications

Controlling Behaviors And Intimate Partner Violence Among Women In Spain: An Examination Of Individual, Partner, And Relationship Risk Factors For Physical And Psychological Abuse

Document Type



coercive control, criminology, cultural contexts, domestic violence, intimate partner violence

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence





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Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been linked to a broad range of negative consequences. Thus, early detection and prevention of behaviors associated with IPV is necessary to combat this global public health problem. Controlling behaviors (CBs) within the intimate context, including acts to constrain free mobility or access to friends and relatives, have been characterized as a moderate form of violence and may be an indicator of more severe IPV. Previous research in this field, however, has been primarily conducted in the United States. Accordingly, we lack knowledge of similar findings in other countries to draw more general conclusions about observed associations between these variables, and to identify underlying mechanisms. The current study analyzes the role of control within the Spanish context by examining its correlates, as well as the role and impact of CBs on psychological and physical violence. To achieve these objectives, we use data from the Spanish sample of the Violence Against Women Survey carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (N = 1,520 adult women). The results indicated that young women, women with a previous history of physical/sexual abuse during childhood, and women who have resided in Spain for fewer years are at greater risk of experiencing control within the context of an ongoing relationship. Partner risk factors included frequent episodes of drunkenness and general violence (i.e., violence outside of the home). In addition, control was more frequently reported among couples where the man was older than the woman. As hypothesized, women who reported CB by their partners were more likely to experience psychological and physical violence. These findings emphasize the importance of preventing CBs to avert the most severe forms of violence, and provides relevant information about the groups that could most benefit from these efforts.


Center for Social and Behavioral Research

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



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