Method: A systematic review of the literature was conducted to assess coercive control tactics related to transportation. Eight electronic databases were searched using the search terms ("intimate partner violence" or "domestic violence" or "coercive control" or "partner abuse") AND ("instrument" or "scale" or "tool" or "measure") AND (“validity” or “reliability” or “psychometric properties”). Studies were included if they were conducted between 2007 and 2019, participants were 18 and older, were conducted in the U.S., validated an IPV or coercive control measure, and were reported in English. The year 2007 was selected because that is the publication year of the seminal work describing coercive control theory (Stark, 2007). The second stage was to create a measure of transportation coercion using the items identified in the systematic review. A pool of candidate items was developed and reviewed with experts (n=3) in the field of transportation and IPV.
Results: The review yielded six psychometric studies of IPV or coercive control measures that include transportation-related items. Most of the participants in the studies were clients of a domestic violence agency or shelter. Scales identified included: The Scale of Economic Abuse, the Scale of Economic Abuse-12, The Abusive Behaviors Inventory, and The Checklist of Controlling Behaviors. The transportation items included in these measures related to restricting or preventing the survivor from accessing transportation. A limitation of the existing transportation coercion items is that they refer specifically to transportation by a personal automobile. The existing items do not assess other forms of transportation such as public transport or alternative transportation such as walking, biking, or ride-hailing). To address these limitations, we created a 31-item transportation coercion measure that builds on the existing transportation coercion items. The measure we created includes existing automobile transportation and adds items related to public transportation, walking, bicycling, and ride-hailing (e.g., Uber/Lyft). The response options include a 5-point Likert type scale ranging from never to very frequently.
Conclusion and Implications: Few IPV and coercive control measures include items related to transportation. Expanding the measurement of transportation coercion could enhance social work practice by aiding in the assessment of survivors’ access to transportation that could be helpful in identifying appropriate transportation resources. Future research is needed to validate the transportation coercion scale with survivors that includes additional forms of transportation.