Psychological Victimization among College Students

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Violence and Gender






According to the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men will experience stalking, physical violence, and/or rape by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, and almost half of U.S. men and women have been the victim of psychological abuse by an intimate during their lives (Black et al. 2011). These behaviors can be considered as indicative of ‘‘coercive control,’’ a pattern of abusive behavior that can lead a victimized person to feel trapped in an intimate relationship characterized by a loss of power and control (see Stark 2007). Using data from a random stratified sample of 786 undergraduates at a large southeastern university located in a rural area, we examined the relationship between sexual orientation, self-control, alcohol consumption, partying, demographics, prior intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization, and psychological IPV among students since attending college. Findings indicate that a greater percentage of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students experience psychological IPV than heterosexual students do, and nonwhite students, those who experienced prior IPV consume alcohol, and who exhibit low self-control are significantly more likely to experience psychological IPV once at college. The implications for policy and practice for rural college students are discussed.