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The application of personality patterns to assessment and treatment of male intimate partner violence

Gibbons, Peter (2015) The application of personality patterns to assessment and treatment of male intimate partner violence. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis sought to understand the nature and role of personality pathology in male perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV) who had been referred to a group intervention program in Western Australia. The research was undertaken with a sample of 181 men, across four studies that demonstrated the diversity of personality pathology in breadth, complexity and severity among this sample of men, along with a number of associated characteristics. Study 1 used the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory—Third Edition (MCMI-III) to measure personality pathology in this sample of men, who were both court-referred and self-referred to the program. The results indicated that 54% of these men reported personality profiles on the MCMI-III consistent with a personality disorder, that these men had quite diverse personality profiles, and that response bias was a significant factor. Study 2 explored whether there were differences in personality pathology, response bias or reported abuse behaviours based on whether the men had been court-referred or self-referred. The results indicated few significant differences between these two groups. Study 3 parsed the men’s MCMI-III scores to ascertain whether there were any cohesive groupings, and applied principal components analysis. This procedure demonstrated five clear and coherent factors in the group, with significant differences in personality profiles within each cluster. The study then explored differential ways to work with these five groups of men in an IPV intervention program. Study 4 examined the correlates of the five clusters using measures of interpersonal problems, self-compassion and emotional empathy. Some logical relationships were found among these variables, with the men in clusters higher in personality pathology being more likely to report higher interpersonal problem scores and lower self-compassion scores, along with higher abuse scores. This study then explored in detail the implications of these findings for assessment, treatment and policy.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Supervisor: Collins, Marjorie and Reid, Corinne
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