The present study is an extension of research that examined the relationship between borderline personality organization (BPO), anger (assessed with the Multidimensional Anger Inventory [MAI]), and wife abuse in 120 men who had committed wife assault. Seventy-five female partners reported on physical and psychological abuse by the men, using the Conflict Tactics Scale and the Psychological Maltreatment of Women Inventory. The men's BPO self-report scores correlated significantly with their partners' reports of their abusiveness as assessed by these scales. Three self-report subscale scores on the MAl and one on the BPO scale accounted for 50% of the variance in their partners' reports of domination and isolation, and for 35% of the women's reports of emotional abuse.
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Research has consistently found that partner violence, defined as physical abuse between married, cohabitating, or dating partners, is not the only type of abuse with long-term deleterious effects on victims. Male and female victims alike report that emotional abuse, along with controlling behaviors, are often as or more traumatic. Existing instruments used to measure emotional abuse and control have either been limited to male-perpetrated behaviors, as conceived in the well-known Duluth “Power and Control” wheel, or field tested on dating or general population samples. This study discusses the genesis and evolution of a gender-inclusive instrument, the Controlling and Abusive Tactics (CAT) Questionnaire, which was field tested on males and females with both a clinical and general population sample. For perpetration, a preliminary comparison across gender found no significant differences across gender for the great majority of items, with women reporting significantly higher rates on 9 items, and men reporting significantly higher rates on 6 items. Women reported higher rates of received abuse than men on 28 of 30 items in which gender differences were found to be significant, but both males and females reported higher victimization than perpetration rates on all items. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses resulted in the CAT-2, a valid and reliable instrument appropriate for clinical use by treatment providers as well as for research purposes.
Previous evaluations of wife assault treatment outcome have focused generically on whether groups “succeed” or not without a clear criterion of what constituted success. The present study examines the question for whom groups generate the greatest reduction in post-treatment abuse and for whom they work least well. It was found that certain types of personality disordered men had the worst post-treatment prognosis. Specifically, men with high scores on borderline personality, antisocial personality, and avoidant personality fared least well after treatment. However, taken as a generic group, men in treatment had significantly reduced post-treatment abusiveness whether reported by themselves or their wives.
Previous research on subtypes of batterers has revealed at least two distinct types of batterers. One group (Type 1) demonstrates suppressed physiological responding during conflicts with their wives, tends to use violence in nonintimate relationships and manifests Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-II) scale elevations on the Antisocial and Aggressive-Sadistic scales. The second group (Type 2) manifests violence in the intimate relationship only and reports dysphoria. The current study extends our knowledge of these two groups by using a cluster analysis to assess personality disorder and relating the results to each group’s attachment style, anger, trauma scores, and scores on a self-report of Borderline Personality Organization (BPO). An instrumental group (Type 1) showed an Antisocial-Narcissistic-Aggressive profile on the MCMI-II and reported more severe physical violence. An impulsive group (Type 2) showed a mixed profile on the MCMI-II with Passive-Aggressive, Borderline, and Avoidant elevations, high scores on a self-report of BPO, higher chronic anger, and Fearful attachment. Both types of abusive men reported a Preoccupied attachment style, but only the Impulsive men reported an accompanying Fearful attachment style.
An empirical test of traumatic bonding theory, the notion that strong emotional attachments are formed by intermittent abuse, is reported. In-depth assessments (interviews plus questionnaires) were conducted on 75 women who had recently left abusive relationships (50 where physical violence had occurred). The study found support for the effect of relationship dynamic factors such as extremity of intermittent maltreatment and power differentials on long-term felt attachment for a former partner, experienced trauma symptoms, and self-esteem, immediately after separation from an abusive partner and again after a six month interim. All three of these measures were significantly intercorrelated within each time period. Each measure at Time 1 correlated significantly with each corresponding measure at Time 2. After six months attachment had decreased by about 27%. Relationship variables (total abuse, intermittency of abuse and power differentials) accounted for 55% of the variance in the attachment measure at Time 2 indicating prolonged effects of abuse suffered in the relationship.
- Go to article: Motivational Needs for Power and Spouse-Specific Assertiveness in Assaultive and Nonassaultive Men
Men who had assaulted their wives were compared to maritally conflicted (but nonassaultive) and satisfactorily married controls through the use of Thematic Apperception Test stories scored for the need for power. When the stimulus pictures showed ambiguous male-female relationships, the assaultive men generated higher need-for-power scores than the average of both control groups combined but did not differ from the maritally conflicted group on need for power. The assaultive men had lower spouse-specific assertiveness scores than either control group, however. A discriminant analysis based on need-for-power and assertiveness scores correctly classified the wife assaulters and maritally conflicted males 90% of the time. The resulting profile of assaultive men was of a group high in the need to exert power in relationships with women but lacking in the verbal resources to do so. It was hypothesized that this combination of a high need for power and a deficit in verbal ability to generate influence produces chronic frustration, which may increase the risk of violence when combined with other factors.
- Go to article: The Outcome of Court-Mandated Treatment for Wife Assault: A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation
This study represents an attempt to assess the effectiveness of court-mandated treatment for wife assault. A quasi-experimental design examined post-conviction recidivism rates for men convicted of wife assault. Fifty men who completed a 16-week treatment program had a 4% recidivism rate for a posttreatment period of up to 3 years. A comparable group who were not treated had a 40% recidivism rate in the same period. Hence, the “success” rate of treatment was 36% according to police records (Rosenthal, 1983). Straus Conflict Tactics Scale scores reported both by the treated men and their wives demonstrated significant posttreatment decreases from pretreatment levels. Treated husbands’ average annual use of severe violence dropped from 10.6 to 1.7 times per year (p <0.01). Eighty-four percent of wives reported no posttreatment violence. Rates of verbal aggression also dropped significantly from pretreatment levels. Comparison with CTS scores of a group of men who were arrested but not treated for wife assault (Jaffe, Wolfe, Telford, & Austin 1986) revealed significant decreases in the use of Physical Aggression subscale tactics (as reported by their wives) as a result of treatment. Interpretative difficulties with the quasi-experimental design used in this study are discussed and a randomized design with appropriate psychological assessment of subjects is recommended.
A critical review is made of feminist analyses of wife assault postulating that patriarchy is a direct cause of wife assault. Data are reviewed from a variety of studies indicating that (a) lesbian battering is more frequent than heterosexual battering, (b) no direct relationship exists between power and violence within couples, and (c) no direct relationship exists between structural patriarchy and wife assault It is concluded that patriarchy must interact with psychological variables in order to account for the great variation in power-violence data. It is suggested that some forms of psychopathology may lead to some men adopting patriarchal ideology to justify and rationalize their own pathology.
- Go to article: Patterns of Socially Desirable Responding Among Perpetrators and Victims of Wife Assault
Wife assaulters attending a treatment group and women who had just exited an abusive relationship were asked to report on the extent of physical violence and emotional abuse in their relationship. Measures of socially desirable responding (SDR) were administered to both groups. Wife assaulters' self-reports of physical abuse correlated negatively with one SDR measure (the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding) but not another (the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale); emotional abuse correlated negatively with both measures. Although physical abuse was primarily related to impression management, psychological abuse was affected by both impression management and self-deception aspects of SDR. Wife assaulters' reports of their own anger also correlated negatively with SDR. Both self-deception and impression management appear to contribute to underreporting of anger. Finally, abuse victims' reports of both physical and emotional abuse were unrelated to SDR.