Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Counseling Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 73 pages) : 1 color illustration.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Myrna L. Friedlander

Committee Members

Alex L. Pieterse, Chitra Raghavan


coercive control, Intimate partner violence, Women college students, Abused women, Psychologically abused women, Self-esteem

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology


The current qualitative study was designed to provide a phenomenological understanding of how coercive control in a romantic relationship is experienced by college women, whose experiences have not been studied. Previous surveys of intimate partner violence (IPV) on college campuses as well as in the community have assessed prevalence rates and types of abuse (e.g. ACHA, 2015; Black et al., 2011; Buhi et al., 2009; Fass et al., 2008; Straus, 2008; Straus & Gozjolko, 2014), rather than survivors’ lived experience of the relationship. To extend this literature, the present study focused on coercive control, a cycle of psychological tactics including intimidation, degradation, isolation, and exploitation that one romantic partner uses as a way to maintain control over the other partner. While coercive control is understood to be a central aspect of abusive romantic relationships, its development and impact on survivors has not been uniquely studied.