Self-report measures of coercive process in couple and parent–child dyads.

Danielle M. Mitnick, Michael F. Lorber, Amy M. Smith Slep, Richard E. Heyman, Shu Xu, Lisanne J. Bulling, Sara R. Nichols, J. Mark Eddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most influential behavioral models of family conflict is G. R. Patterson’s (1982) coercive family process theory. Self-reports for behaviors related to coercion (e.g., hostility toward a family member) abound; however, there are no self-report measures for coercive process itself, which is, by definition, a dyadic process. Operationalizations of coercive process are measured with behavioral observation, typically including sequential analyzed, microcoded behaviors. Despite its objectivity and rigor, coding of behavior observation is not always feasible in research and applied settings because of the high training, personnel, and time costs the observation requires. Because coercive process has been shown to predict a host of maladaptive outcomes (e.g., parent–child conflict, aggression, negative health outcomes) and given the complete absence of self-report measures of coercive process, we recently designed brief questionnaires to assess coercive process in couple (Couple Coercive Process Scale [CCPS]) and parent–child interactions (Parent–Child Coercive Process Scale [PCCPS]) and tested them via Qualtrics participant panels in samples recruited to mirror socioeconomic generalizability to U.S. Census data. The CCPS and PCCPS exhibited initial evidence of psychometric quality in measuring coercive process in couple and parent–child dyads: Both measures are unifactorial; have evidence of reliability, especially at higher levels of coercive process; and demonstrate concurrent validity with constructs in their nomological networks, with medium to large effect sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-398
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • coercive family process
  • couple conflict
  • health outcomes
  • parent–child conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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