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How useful are indices of personality pathology when assessing domestic violence perpetrators?

Gibbons, P., Collins, M.A. and Reid, C. (2011) How useful are indices of personality pathology when assessing domestic violence perpetrators? Psychological Assessment, 23 (1). pp. 164-173.

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There has been considerable debate about profiling personality pathology when assessing and treating male perpetrators of domestic violence (DV). This study used the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-III) to explore the severity and diversity of male perpetrator personality pathology and response bias in a group of DV perpetrators being assessed for a treatment program (N = 177). We analyzed the sample using the interpretive guidelines of White and Gondolf (2000); 54% of profiles in our sample fell into categories indicative of a personality disorder, and 37% of the total sample provided profiles indicative of severe personality pathology. These percentages were higher than White and Gondolf's findings but lower than some others. There was considerable diversity of personality pathology as well, supporting the contention that there is no one male DV perpetrator profile. Because of debate concerning the manner of responding on self-report instruments, we paid special attention to response biases in our sample. Twenty-six percent of our sample exaggerated (12%) or minimized (14%) their responses. We also found that response biases on the MCMI-III Modifying Indices were related to self-reported severity of psychopathology. This suggests that assessing severity of psychopathology is inadequate without reference to such biases.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Copyright: © 2011 American Psychological Association
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