Characteristics of male spouse abusers consistent with personality disorders

Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1988 Jul;39(7):763-70. doi: 10.1176/ps.39.7.763.


Researchers and clinicians have tended to minimize the role of psychological characteristics of male spouse abusers, which has restricted the selection of potentially appropriate treatment interventions. A review of clinical literature on psychological characteristics of male batterers, including some studies incorporating psychometric testing, suggests that many of the characteristics of batterers are consistent with DSM-III criteria for personality disorders. Several authors have defined subtypes of batterers, which can be associated with specific types of personality disorders. Treatment programs for male spouse abusers should address the specific problems presented by patients with personality disorders, including alcohol-abusing batterers, a particularly difficult group to treat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Crime
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Disorders / complications*
  • Social Class
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*