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James-Hawkins et al. (2018) – Gender Norms, Violence in Childhood, and Men’s Coercive Control in Marriage


Objective: Coercive control in marriage is common in patriarchal settings, but multilevel determinants are understudied.

Method: Using a probability sample of 570 junior men (married, 18–34 years) from the Bangladesh survey of the 2011 UN Multi-Country Study of Men and Violence, we examined how exposure to violence in childhood and community-level gender norms were related to men’s attitudes about gender equity and use of controlling behavior. We tested whether community-level gender norms moderated the relationship between men’s exposure to violence in childhood and our outcomes.

Results: According to results from multilevel Poisson regression models, as community gender norms become more equitable by 1 standard deviation, a junior married man’s expected rate of controlling behavior is lower by 0.11, and his rate of agreement with gender equitable attitudes is higher by 0.27. More gender-equitable community norms were negatively related to a junior married man’s use of controlling behavior. Childhood exposure to violence was not associated with use of controlling behavior. There was a significant cross-level interaction such that exposure to violence had a stronger negative impact on men’s gender equitable attitudes in communities with lower overall gender equity than those with higher overall gender equity. The corresponding cross-level interaction effect was not significant for the controlling behavior outcome.

Conclusions: More equitable community gender norms may encourage more gender-equitable attitudes and discourage use of controlling behavior among junior men, suggesting that interventions to change community gender norms may reduce coercive control of women in marriage.


James-Hawkins, Laurie, Yuk Fai Cheong, Ruchira Tabassum Naved, and Kathryn M. Yount2018. “Gender Norms, Violence in Childhood, and Men’s Coercive Control in Marriage: A Multilevel Analysis of Young Men in Bangladesh.” Psychology of Violence 8(5):580–95. doi:10.1037/vio0000152.




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James-Hawkins et al. (2018) – Gender Norms, Violence in Childhood, and Men’s Coercive Control in Marriage

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