Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 195–202 | Cite as

The Effect of Coercion on Aggression and Mental Health Among Reciprocally Violent Couples

  • Moisés PrósperoEmail author
Original article


Researchers have not investigated mental health outcomes among couples who are reciprocally violent towards each other. The present study investigated differences in partner violence (psychological, physical, and sexual) and mental health symptoms (depression, anxiety, hostility, and somatic) between two types of reciprocally violent couples: situational couple violence (SCV) and mutual control violence (MVC). SCV couples use violence to address stressful family conflicts, while MVC couples use violence as a tool to control each other. Participants (N = 609) completed surveys that contained several instruments that measured past violence, coercive behaviors, physical injuries, and mental health symptoms. Results revealed that MVC reported significantly higher levels of violent perpetration and worse physical and mental health than SCV. These findings have implications for understanding the role of coercion in partner violence and mental health, which can be used for the development of appropriate mental health services for couples who are mutually violent towards each other.


Family violence Partner violence Coercion Mental health symptoms Physical injuries Mutual couple violence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Social WorkUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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