The Costs of Coercive Control: Assessing Behavioral and Mental Health Correlates of Erratic and Oppressive Coercion

Jonathan R. Brauer, Charles R. Tittle, Olena Antonaccio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Some theorists argue that coercion’s consequences depend upon the consistency with which it is experienced. This study measures the consistency of coercive experiences across social domains and lifespan stages then tests hypotheses linking coercion’s consistency to crime, prosocial behaviors, and depressive symptoms using data from randomly selected respondents in Ukraine and Bangladesh. Descriptive analyses test theoretical claims that erratic coercion generates crime while oppressive coercion deters crime, but at the cost of suppressing prosocial behaviors and exacerbating depressive symptoms. Findings show positive associations between projected criminal behavior and coercion’s magnitude, and between relative erratic but not absolute erratic coercion and projected criminal behavior. Oppressive coercion is linked to more depressive symptoms and, contradicting theoretical expectations, higher levels of criminal intent. Overall, this study’s findings challenge widespread reliance on coercive controls to influence social outcomes by documenting higher levels of projected criminal behavior and mental health problems among more coerced respondents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-286
Number of pages32
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 23 2019



  • coercion
  • consistency
  • depression
  • projected criminal behavior
  • prosocial behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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