Date of Award

Spring 2-26-2024

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Dr. Marcia Bennett

Second Advisor

Dr. Abigail Hughes-Scalise

Third Advisor

Dr. Margit Berman


Domestic violence affects more than 10 million adults in the United States annually (National Network to End Domestic Violence, 2020). The Power and Control Wheel (PCW) places power and control at the center of physical and sexual violence, with eight surrounding tactics representing the abusive behaviors perpetrators use to retain power and control over survivors. Although the PCW has been extended to understand various abusive relationships, and the PCW tactics have been examined in both Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Non-Intimate Partner Violence (NPV; Basile et al., 2004; Scott, 2018), limited research compares tactics used based on the perpetrator’s relationship to the survivor. The current study investigated how perpetrators of IPV and NPV, including family members and acquaintances (e.g., bosses), use the PCW tactics, and the impact of these behaviors on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Using the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) dataset, this study found a significant effect of the type of relationship on the variety of PCW tactics used. IPV survivors endorsed a wider variety of PCW tactics used against them as compared to NPV survivors harmed by an mmediate family member and NPV survivors harmed by an acquaintance. Examining specific PCW tactics, emotional abuse experienced by NPV-Immediate Family Member was not endorsed at a higher prevalence compared to NPV-Acquaintance. Similarly, the use of intimidation tactics was also not endorsed as a higher prevalence by NPV-Acquaintance than NPV-Immediate Family Member. As predicted, survivors who endorsed being harmed by a wider variety of PCW tactics also reported more PTSD symptoms. Type of domestic violence did not significantly moderate the effects of number of PCW tactics on PTSD symptoms. Future research in this area could examine each PCW tactic to capture the interconnected nature of abusive behaviors within differing dynamics of NPV and IPV.


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