Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 131-147

First online:

Personality correlates of men who batter and nonviolent men: Some continuities and discontinuities

  • L. Kevin HambergerAffiliated withMedical College of Wisconsin
  • , James E. HastingsAffiliated withMedical College of Wisconsin

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The present study investigated personality and family-of-origin differences among three groups of domestically violent men and a nonviolent comparison group, matched for age and education. The domestic violence groups consisted of male batterers referred for treatment (agency identified batterers) who were alcoholic (n=38) or nonalcoholic (n=61), and a third group who were identified through community sampling as maritally violent (n=28 community batterers). Multivariate analyses of variance of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI) showed that, compared to nonviolent controls, alcoholic and nonalcoholic batterers showed higher levels of borderline characteristics. Furthermore, alcoholic batterers showed the highest MCMI elevations, followed by nonalcoholic batterers. Community-identified batterers showed no predicted significant differences from the nonviolent controls. On measures of family-of-origin pathology and disruption, only alcoholic batterers differed significantly from nonbatterers on report of both experienced and witnessed abuse victimization.

Key words

spouse abuse personality disorder abusive males abuser characteristics