Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 255–267 | Cite as

An Exploratory Study of Emotional Intelligence and Domestic Abuse

  • Jason Winters
  • Robert J. W. Clift
  • Donald G. Dutton


To date, there is no literature specifically addressing the relationship between spousal battering and emotional intelligence, a concept that captures the success, or lack thereof, of a person's functioning in their immediate environment. Forty-four men convicted of spousal assault and 76 undergraduate students completed the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i; R. Bar-On, BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory: User's Manual, Multi-Health Systems, Inc., Toronto, 1997), the Propensity for Abusiveness Scale (PAS; D. G. Dutton, J. Fam. Violence 10(2): 203–221, 1995), and the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding (D. Paulhus, J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 46: 598–609, 1984; Assessing Self-Deception and Impression Management in Self-Reports: The Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding, Unpublished manual, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 1988; In Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes, Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 17–59, 1991). Results of this exploratory study indicate that batterers score significantly lower than the general population on all components of EQ-i. Additionally EQ-i total and subscale scores for both samples correlate negatively and significantly with scores on PAS, suggesting that deficits in various components of emotional intelligence are related to an increase in the propensity to be abusive. Implications for batterer treatment are discussed.

domestic violence emotional intelligence EQ-i spousal abuse propensity for abusiveness treatment 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason Winters
    • 1
  • Robert J. W. Clift
    • 1
  • Donald G. Dutton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouver, British ColumbiaCanada

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