Men’s Coercive Control, Partner Violence Perpetration, and Life Satisfaction in Bangladesh

Abstract

In patriarchal settings like Bangladesh, men’s use of coercive control to sustain male dominance may increase their life satisfaction if such behavior is widely accepted and internalized. Yet, the influence of men’s perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV) on their life satisfaction is unknown. We assess the associations of controlling behavior and IPV perpetration with life satisfaction using data from the Bangladesh component of the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence. This survey was conducted from January to June, 2011 in a multistage, random sample of men from urban Dhaka and rural Matlab sub-district of Chandpur district. Analyses included ever-partnered men (N = 1,572). In unadjusted structural equation models, men who reported controlling behavior had higher average life satisfaction; whereas, those reporting psychological IPV perpetration had lower life satisfaction. Adjusting for covariates, men’s controlling behavior remained positively associated with their life satisfaction, while psychological and physical IPV perpetration were negatively associated with life satisfaction. In Bangladesh, men’s controlling behavior may be so central to normative masculinity that it is internalized, and its instrumental success enhances men’s life satisfaction. Yet, the adverse influence of IPV perpetration on life satisfaction supports social-psychological theories of self-determination, whereby behaviors that are normative but not internalized undermine men’s psychological needs, contributing to lower life satisfaction. In settings like Bangladesh, integrated theories of masculinity under patriarchy and self-determination may be needed to understand men’s coercive control, IPV perpetration, and well-being.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and Partners for Prevention for making the data available for this secondary analysis. We thank Md. Mahfuz Al Mamun for his comments on an earlier version of the paper. Ruchira Naved was the PI of the Bangladesh component of the UN Multi-Country Study, on which this secondary data analysis is based. Ruchira Naved and Kathryn Yount conceived of the analysis. Kathryn Yount guided the data analysis and drafted a majority of the paper. Stephanie Miedema drafted sections of the background and edited the paper for critical content. AliceAnn Crandall and Chris Martin implemented the analysis, drafted parts of the paper, and edited for critical content. Ruchira Naved edited the paper for critical content.

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Correspondence to Kathryn M. Yount.

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Research Involving Human Participants

The UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia-Pacific received ethical approval from the Medical Research Council, South Africa. Informed consent was obtained by all respondents prior to survey administration. Field staff used audio-enhanced personal digital assistants (PDAs) to administer the survey. The final section of the survey, which asked the most sensitive questions pertaining to violence and criminal activity, was self-administered by the respondents themselves.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Yount, K.M., Miedema, S.S., Martin, C.C. et al. Men’s Coercive Control, Partner Violence Perpetration, and Life Satisfaction in Bangladesh. Sex Roles 74, 450–463 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0584-3

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Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • Controlling behavior
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Life satisfaction
  • Masculinity
  • Patriarchy
  • Self-determination