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Personality Characteristics of Men Who Physically Abuse Women
Latina Else; Stephen A. Wonderlich; William W. Beatty; Donald W. Christie; R. Dennis Staton
Psychiatric Services 1993; doi:
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This research was supported by a grant from the Red River Human Services Foundation in Fargo, North Dakota.

North Dakota State University

University of North Dakota in Fargo

Red River Human Services Foundation in Fargo

University of North Dakota in Fargo; University of North Dakota, 1919 Elm Street North, Fargo, North Dakota 58102

1993 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Objective: Studies have suggested that personality disorders may be common among men who habitually commit domestic violence. The study reported here attempted to characterize personality traits and psychological and cognitive characteristics of men who batter women in order to distinguish them from nonbattering men. Methods: A group of 21 batterers were compared with a group of nonbatterers using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and its personality disorder scales (MMPJPDS) and the Hostility and Direction of Hostility Questionnaire. Comparability of the two groups was assessed on several demographic variables and on scores on the Revised Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test, three cognitive measures, and three measures of affective disturbance. Results: Batterers scored higher on only the borderline and antisocial MMPIPDS and on the acting-out hostility and self-criticism scales of the hostility questionnaire. Problem solving skills for both of the groups were considerably poorer than published norms. No significant differences were found between the groups in age, race, education, socioeconomic status, alcohol abuse, performance on cognitive measures, depression scale scores, or overall scores on the MMPI. As children, batterers were more likely to have experienced physical or emotional abuse. Conclusions: Men who commit domestic violence may be found among a larger pool of men with poor problem-solving skills, but in addition they appear to have borderline-antisocial personality traits, certain types of hostility, and histories of abuse as children that may predispose them to become violent with their female companions.

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