Sex Roles

, Volume 69, Issue 3–4, pp 168–181 | Cite as

Men’s Experience of Psychological Abuse: Conceptualization and Measurement Issues

  • Maureen C. McHugh
  • Samantha Rakowski
  • Catherine Swiderski
Original Article


In this paper the literature on men’s experience of psychological abuse (in the U.S.) is reviewed and the ability to conceptualize and measure such abuse is reconsidered. Scales used to measure psychological abuse based on the experiences of battered women are critiqued as inadequate as measures of psychological abuse of men. Although both men and women direct psychological abuse toward their partners, violence perpetrated by men and women is not necessarily the same. Adopting a gender role perspective on psychological abuse, we argue that women may use different strategies to hurt men including manipulation and gender role harassment, whereas coercive control paired with physical abuse may constitute one version of (male) intimate partner violence.


Psychological abuse Intimate partner violence Emotional abuse Verbal aggression Gender harassment Couple violence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maureen C. McHugh
    • 1
  • Samantha Rakowski
    • 2
  • Catherine Swiderski
    • 1
  1. 1.Indiana University of PennsylvaniaIndianaUSA
  2. 2.University of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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