Sex Roles

, Volume 37, Issue 5–6, pp 335–359 | Cite as

Power and Personality: An Analysis of Gay Male Intimate Abuse

  • Monica A. Landolt
  • Donald G. Dutton


A study was conducted to investigate the issue of gay male intimate abuse in a sample of 52 couples. The objective of the study was to explore the association between relationship power dynamics and the perpetration of psychological abuse, and to investigate the correspondence between intimate abuse and factors associated with the Abusive Personality [D. G. Dutton and A. J. Starzomski (1993) “Borderline Personality in Perpetrators of Psychological and Physical Abuse,” Violence and Victims, Vol. 8, pp. 327–337; D. G. Dutton (1994a) “Behavioral and Affective Correlates of Borderline Personality Organization in Wife Assaulters,” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 17, pp. 265–279.] The majority of participants were middle to upper class and their ethnic/racial breakdown is as follows: White (86%), Native American (7%), Asian (4%), and Other (3%). In terms of power, results indicated that the more frequent form of psychological abuse was significantly higher in relationships characterized by divided power (i.e., partners sharing decision-making authority by the partners each making decisions in different domains). This finding supports the supposition that abuse can occur in relatively egalitarian relationships. An association between intimate abuse and the Abusive Personality was also clearly observed and this personality profile seemed to characterize both members of abusive dyads. Conclusions are drawn regarding the generalizability of intimate abuse across lines of sexual orientation.


Social Psychology Sexual Orientation Physical Abuse Power Dynamic Frequent Form 
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

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica A. Landolt
    • 1
  • Donald G. Dutton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaUSA

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