Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


Approximately 21.000 women per week are assaulted by their domestic partners in the United States (Stamp & Sabourin, l 995). Beasley and Stoltenberg ( 1992) advised that "work with abusive men could benefit from careful attention to the role of anger and personality disorders in this population" (p.316). Research generally indicates that male spousal abusers have been characterized in various ways and nave been created with varying levels of success. In order to design effective prevention and treatment plans, it is important to comprehend the nature of spousal abuse, and what research has to say about intimate abusers and their personality characteristics. This study compared 68 men (abusers n=39. non-abusers n=29) from Northern British Columbia, Canada, using two self-report personality measures: the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Second Edition (MMPI-2) and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory Third Edition (MCMI-III). An archival database was used, which was developed by Bogyo ( l 998) and which matched abuser and non-abuser subjects by age (plus or minus 24 months) and ethnic background. The present study found significant differences between abusers and non-abusers. as well as two clusters of abusers in the archival database as suggested in the literature. The dominant cluster could be characterized as resembling the cluster of abusers described in the literature as internally conflicted. disturbed. schizoid/borderline. asocial/avoidant/aggressive/negativistic. dysphoric/borderline. emotionally volatile. and impulsive/under-controlled (Dutton. l998). In this sample the MCMI-Ill was more effective than the MMPI-2 both for discriminating abusers from non-abusers and for characterizing their personality attributes. MCMI-Ill scales measuring willingness to self-disclose. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. passive-aggressive features. drug and alcohol abuse. sadistic tendencies. self-critical statements. and unusual thinking patterns predicted abuse in this sample. It may be useful to administer a personality measure such as the MCMI-Ill in a community mental health or other clinical setting to match potential and/or actual spousal abusers to appropriate treatment.

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