Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 577–588 | Cite as

Personality Disorder Symptoms in Women as a Result of Chronic Intimate Male Partner Violence

  • Maria A. Pico-Alfonso
  • Enrique Echeburúa
  • Manuela Martinez
Original article


This study explores the personality disorder symptoms of women victims of intimate male partner violence (IPV), after controlling for the contribution of experiences of childhood abuse. Victims of both physical and psychological violence (n = 73) or psychological violence alone (n = 53) were compared with non-abused control women (n = 52). Information about sociodemographic characteristics, childhood abuse, and personality characteristics (MCMI-II) was obtained through face-to-face structured interviews. Women victims of IPV had higher scores than controls in schizoid, avoidant, self-defeating personality scales, as well as in the three pathological personality scales (schizotypal, borderline and paranoid). Both physical and psychological IPV were strongly associated with personality disorder symptomatology, regardless of the effects of childhood abuse. These findings underscore the need to screen for personality disorder symptoms in women victims of IPV when dealing with therapeutic interventions.


Intimate male partner violence Women Personality disorder symptoms MCMI-II profiles 



Supported by the Institute of the Woman, Ministry of Work and Social Affairs (ref: 53/98), FEDER and the Ministry of Science and Technology (Plan Nacional de Investigación Científica, Desarrollo e Innovación Tecnológica; ref: BSO2001-3134), and the Conselleria D’Empresa, Universitat i Ciencia, Generalitat Valenciana (GRUPOS2004/15) Spain. Special thanks are given to Miriam Phillips for the revision of the English style, and to Dr. Vicente Gonzalez-Roma for the statistical help. Thanks are also given to the Conselleria of Social Welfare and the 24 h Centers for Helping Women of the Valencian Community of Spain for their assistance in contacting the battered women.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria A. Pico-Alfonso
    • 3
  • Enrique Echeburúa
    • 2
  • Manuela Martinez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychobiologyFaculty of Psychology, University of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Personality and Psychological Treatment, Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of the Basque CountrySan SebastianSpain
  3. 3.Stress Physiology Lab, Department of Evolutionary and Functional BiologyUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly

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