Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Barbara A. Winstead

Committee Member

Susan A. Garvey

Committee Member

J. D. Ball

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez-Hucles

Committee Member

Joseph Galano


This study investigated the relationship between the personality characteristics of male batterers and treatment outcome. It also examined a pattern of communication found in violent couples where the male pursues the female and the female withdraws in an argument. The study also compared alcohol use with treatment outcome.

Twenty-one men who attended a group psychoeducational treatment program for batterers completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2). The men were divided into three groups based on their scores: non-pathological (normal profile), narcissistic/antisocial (elevated psychopathic deviate scale), and severely disordered (elevations on several scales). Pre and post-test measures were completed: Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS), Relationship Style Questionnaire (RSQ), Modified Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS), and a measure of minimizing and rationalizing (Min/Rat).

The men in the present sample were similar demographically to previous descriptions of court-referred batterers except for a higher percentage of non-white participants. The results did not support any differences in treatment outcome for the three MMPI-2 subtypes of male batterers. The data supported the results of Gondolf (1977) who completed a very extensive research project in this area of domestic violence. The present research also found no change in the male pursuit/female withdrawal communication pattern as a result of treatment. Finally, alcohol use was also found not to impact treatment outcome.

Participants were easily categorized into the three personality groups: non-pathological, antisocial/narcissistic, severely disordered. The non-pathological MMPI-2 group appeared "better" overall than the severely disordered group; less self pursuit, less partner withdrawal, more satisfaction with the relationship, and more affectional expression. The antisocial/narcissistic group generally fell in the middle of the other two categories, not significantly different from either. Implications of the results are discussed and suggestions for future research are outlined.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.