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Beyond Frequency and Severity: Development and Validation of the Brief Coercion and Conflict Scales

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 12 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2006 Pages: 1050-1072
Date Published
November 2006
23 pages

This study developed and tested a new measurement instrument for domestic violence: the Brief Coercion and Conflict Scales.


The results indicated that the Brief Coercion and Conflict Scales met the criteria for internal and external construct validity. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that conflict and coercion were moderately and positively related yet were distinct dimensions. The participants all reported experiencing conflict and coercion within their relationships yet conflict was experienced more frequently than coercion. The coercion and conflict scales were also able to differentially predict women's behavioral and psychological responses to abuse. The experience of coercion among the participants was related to their strategic responses and their posttraumatic stress symptoms. Although further validation of the instruments' internal and external validity is called for, the findings suggest that the Brief Coercion and Conflict Scales is a viable option for measuring domestic violence in prison populations. The development of the Brief Coercion and Conflict Scales involved a review of the interpersonal circumstances surrounding abusive experiences by reviewing the research literature and interviewing domestic violence advocates. Focus groups of 67 female prison inmates helped refine the questions for clarity. The validation study involved administering the Brief Coercion and Conflict Scales to a sample of 403 incarcerated women in Atlanta, GA who were recruited using a random number table selection method. Intimate partner violence was also measured using the Conflict Tactics Scale, depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, and posttraumatic stress symptoms were measured using the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale. The factor structure of the Brief Coercion and Conflict Scales was tested with confirmatory techniques using structural equation modeling software. Future validation studies of the Brief Coercion and Conflict Scales should focus on the scales' internal structure and external relationships with relevant variables in other populations. Tables, notes, references

Date Published: November 1, 2006