Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 22–34 | Cite as

Female masochism: Perspectives for social workers

  • Nora Dougherty


Simplistic theories regarding the origin of female masochism fail to recognize its multidetermined nature. Object relations theory can combine with learning theory to elucidate the interpersonal quality of human behavior. In addition, social sciences concepts such as role and exchange theories may explain pressures on individuals and groups to behavior in culturally valued ways. Contradictions between popularly believed notions about femininity and the individual's life experiences create conflicts for females, resulting in lack of self-esteem, confusion, and self-defeating behavior. Masochism can be understood as a defensive maneuver to retain the good object and prevent abandonment.


Social Science Social Worker Human Behavior Life Experience Relation Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora Dougherty
    • 1
  1. 1.Atlanta

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