Husband-to-wife sexual coercion in cross-border marriage : A relationship power perspective

Adam Ka Lok CHEUNG*, Tuen Yi CHIU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the proliferation of literature on cross-border marriages, most previous studies have focused on the vulnerability of female marriage migrants due to their immigrant status; few have examined the role of husbands’ power motive in their well-being. To fill this gap, this study investigates the roles of household power structure and the husband’s power motive in husband-to-wife sexual coercion in cross-border marriages in Hong Kong. We hypothesize that as men in cross-border marriages are often socially disadvantaged and stigmatized in the public discourse, they may attempt to use sexual coercion as a form of compensatory masculinity to reclaim power in the private sphere. Using couple-level data from a representative sample in Hong Kong (N = 871 couples), the results show that cross-border couples have a higher risk of husband-to-wife sexual coercion and that couple power dynamics fully mediate the difference in the prevalence of sexual coercion in local and cross-border marriages. These suggest that men’s high power motive and perpetration of sexual violence are intimately related. Future studies should pay attention to the disadvantaged background and negative labels applied to the men in cross-border marriage when studying the well-being of female marriage migrants and couple dynamics in cross-border marriage migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-98
Number of pages22
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number1
Early online date11 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The data for this research come from a project that was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grant Council, Grant CUHK4667/05H.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Compensatory masculinity
  • cross-border marriage
  • marital power
  • marital rape
  • sexual coercion
  • violence against women


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