Investigating a batterer typology: the role of personality characteristics, attachment, and family of origin dynamics
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The purpose of this study was to further investigate the tripartite typology of batterers, proposed initially by Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart (1994). This study empirically examined the typologies of male batterers based on personality characteristics followed by an examination of the possible differences between batterer typologies based on attachment dimensions, severity of violence in current adult romantic relationships, witnessing or experiencing family of origin violence, and family of origin dynamics. Participants in this study include a sample of 93 court-mandated adult males who were on probation for some type of spousal abuse. Data was obtained by administering a demographic form, severity of abuse rating form, the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory- III (Millon, Davis, Millon, 1997), Straus?? (1979) Conflict Tactics Scale, the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale (FACES-III)(Olson, Portner, & Labee, 1985), and the Adult Attachment Scale (Collins & Reid, 1990). Four clusters of men were identified as Borderline/Dysphoric (B/D), Antisocial (A), Non-Pathological (N-P), and Depressive (D). Three of the groups resembled the predicted subtypes (B/D, A, and N-P). The results of this study indicated that the N-P subtype is most consistent with the proposed typology and with previous literature. Distinctions between the B/D and A subtypes were not as clear and differences were inconsistent with the manner predicted by the theoretical typology on several of the research questions. Scores on the attachment dimensions were consistent for the B/D and N-P groups, but not for the A group. Severity of violence for the N-P group was supported but results indicated that the B/D subtype reported greater severity of violence than the A subtype, contrary to the theoretical typology. Differences in violence frequencies outside the home were not found. Support was found for the hypothesis that the N-P subtype would report experiencing and witnessing the least amounts of family of origin violence but results indicated that the B/D and A subtypes differed in a manner inconsistent with the proposed typology. Lastly, support was not found for the hypothesized differences between the subtypes on family of origin measure. Recommendations for future research are discussed.
Robinson, Lori R. (2003). Investigating a batterer typology: the role of personality characteristics, attachment, and family of origin dynamics. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from