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Violence Vict. 1998 Fall;13(3):217-30.

A comparison of impulsive and instrumental subgroups of batterers.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Previous research on subtypes of batterers has revealed at least two distinct types of batterers. One group (Type 1) demonstrates suppressed physiological responding during conflicts with their wives, tends to use violence in nonintimate relationships and manifests Million Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-II) scale elevations on the Antisocial and Aggressive-Sadistic scales. The second group (Type 2) manifests violence in the intimate relationship only and reports dysphoria. The current study extends our knowledge of these two groups by using a cluster analysis to assess personality disorder and relating the results to each group's attachment style, anger, trauma scores, and scores on a self-report of Borderline Personality Organization (BPO). An instrumental group (Type 1) showed an Antisocial-Narcissistic-Aggressive profile on the MCMI-II and reported more severe physical violence. An impulsive group (Type 2) showed a mixed profile on the MCMI-II with Passive-Aggressive, Borderline, and Avoidant elevations, high scores on a self-report of BPO, higher chronic anger, and Fearful attachment. Both types of abusive men reported a Preoccupied attachment style, but only the Impulsive men reported an accompanying Fearful attachment style.

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