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date: 18 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes the history of research focused on coercive relationship dynamics among family members and peers. It is plausible that evolutionary mechanisms are at play that account for the cross-generational repetition of conflict and coercion and the alarming transformations in human behavior that lead to more serious forms of violence. Considerable progress has been made in understanding the genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of emotion-regulation patterns that define vulnerability to coercive relationships. Coercive relationship dynamics can be subtle and laden with many emotions, but ultimately, the core dynamic is that conflict is solved by emotional manipulation rather than by negotiation. More nuanced forms of coercion are also implicated in some patterns of depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation and attempts. There are several evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies for youth problem behavior and marital relationships. Successful prevention and intervention must skillfully motivate and manage changes in these overlearned patterns of behavior.

Keywords: coercion, coercive relationship dynamic, emotion regulation, pattern of behavior, negotiation, marital relationship

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