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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an introduction to the concept of coercion in human relationships. Coercion is defined as an interpersonal strategy that results in avoidance or escape of an aversive social experience. We describe the basic topographic, functional, and contextual factors associated with coercion. The varied ways in which coercive behaviors are manifested and operate in multiple social relationships are described, along with the kinds of social contingencies and conditions that grow coercive dynamics. The origins, shaping by social environmental experiences, and longer term outcomes of coercive behaviors and relationship dynamics are discussed from a developmental perspective. Research on coercion was inspired by an interest to design effective interventions. The dialectic between applied and basic research strengthens our scientific understanding of the role of coercive relationship dynamics in developmental outcomes and provides the basis for several evidenced-based interventions that improve the lives of children and families.

Keywords: coercion, relationship, development, negative reinforcement, aggression

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