Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 3–16 | Cite as

Gaslighting: A marital syndrome

  • Gertrude Zemon Gass
  • William C. Nichols


This paper is concerned with certain male behaviors during and after their extramarital affairs and the impact of those behaviors and associated attitudes on the men's spouses. The observations cited here are drawn from clinical samples but seemingly have some features in common with what appears in nonclinical populations as well. Not only the husbands but also male therapists may contribute to the women's distress through mislabeling the women's reactions and through continuation of certain stereotypical attitudes that reflect negatively on the wife whose husband has had an affair.


Health Psychology Clinical Sample Social Issue Male Behavior Male Therapist 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brodsky, A. M., & Hare-Mustin, R. T. (Eds.). (1980).Women and psychotherapy. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  2. Broverman, I. K., Broverman, D. M., Clarkson, F. E., Rosenkrantz, P. A., & Vogel, S. R. (1970). Sex-role stereotypes and clinical judgments of mental health.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 34, 1–7.Google Scholar
  3. Caplan, P. J. (1984). The myth of women's masochism.American Psychologist, 39 130–139.Google Scholar
  4. Ekman, P. (1985).Telling lies. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Gilligan, C. (1982).In a different voice: Psychological theory and women's development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Gove, W. R. (1980). Mental illness and psychiatric treatment among women.Psychology of Women Quarterly, 4, 345–362.Google Scholar
  7. Hare-Mustin, R. T. (1983). An appraisal of the relationship between women and psychotherapy: 80 years after the case of Dora.American Psychologist, 38, 593–601.Google Scholar
  8. Larselere, R. E.,& Huston, T. L. (1980). The dyadic trust scale: Toward understanding interpersonal trust in close relationships.Journal of Marriage and the Family 42 595–604.Google Scholar
  9. McGinnis, T. (1981).More than just a friend. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  10. Miller, J. B. (1976).Toward a new psychology of women. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  11. Nichols, W. C., & Everett, C. A. (1986).Systemic family therapy: An integrative approach. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  12. Sherman, J. A., Koufacos, C., & Kenworthy, J. A. (1978). Therapists: Their attitudes and information about women.Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2, 299–313.Google Scholar
  13. Sullivan, H. S. (1953).The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: W. Norton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gertrude Zemon Gass
    • 1
  • William C. Nichols
    • 1
  1. 1.Birmingham

Personalised recommendations