The Abusive Personality
Violence and Control in Intimate Relationships
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December 19, 2006
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This influential book provides an innovative framework for understanding and treating intimate partner violence. Integrating a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives, Donald G. Dutton demonstrates that male abusiveness is more than just a learned pattern of behavior—it is the outgrowth of a particular personality configuration. He illuminates the development of the abusive personality from early childhood to adulthood and presents an evidence-based treatment approach designed to meet this population's unique needs. The second edition features two new chapters on the neurobiological roots of abusive behavior and the development of abusiveness in females.
“Outstanding. Based on over 20 years of empirical literature and clinical experience, this second edition is a 'must read' for mental health professionals and researchers. Dutton goes beyond social stereotypes and superficial explanations to compassionately and eloquently describe the complex relationship among biological, developmental, psychological, and social factors contributing to the development of the abusive personality. With a solid foundation in the etiology of violent behavior, readers also learn about Dutton's highly effective perpetrator intervention program. The book will be accessible both to seasoned clinicians and to students, interns, and newly licensed professionals. What is most exciting and unique about this second edition is its incorporation of the most recent findings on neurobiology and attachment theory into a comprehensive theory of the development and treatment of the abusive personality.”—Daniel J. Sonkin, PhD, private practice, Sausalito, California
“What sets this book apart from others is that Dutton goes to the core of partner violence by addressing individual psychopathology. He convincingly argues that abusive men have significant personality problems with origins in their early development, and he uses object relations and attachment theory to provide excellent clinical descriptions of how an individual becomes an abuser. This is important reading for any clinician or researcher interested in the psychology of battering.”—K. Daniel O'Leary, PhD, Stony Brook University
“Dutton's formulations are the product of a first-rate scientific mind informed by decades of empirical research. He brings scientific rigor and intellectual clarity to his writing, which is both scholarly and compelling. With this second edition, Dutton solidifies his position as one of the world's most eminent domestic violence researchers.”—Reid Meloy, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego
“Dr. Dutton's outstanding work traces 20 years of empirical history examining partner violence from childhood to adulthood and then presents practical programs to meet the needs of patients suffering from abusive personality disorders. This book will not only appeal to the scholarly scientific mind of a well-seasoned therapist but will inform students just beginning in the field. The second edition has incorporated recent findings in neurobiology and developmental theory, which has been updated to include chapters on trauma research and abuse in females. I highly recommend it for any practitioner working with abusive personality disorders.”—Muriel Prince Warren, DSW, ACSW, private practice, Orangeburg, New York
Table of Contents
2. Early Explanations
3. Learning of Abusiveness
4. The Psychology of the Cycle of Violence
5. The Structure of the Abusive Personality: The Data
6. The Primitive Origins of Rage
7. An Anger Born of Fear: Attachment Rage
8. The Sociopsychoneurobiology of Attachment
9. The Early Antecedents Studies
10. Longitudinal Development and Female Abusive Personalities
11. The Treatment of Assaultiveness
About the AuthorDonald G. Dutton
, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. In 1979 he cofounded the Assaultive Husbands Project, a court-mandated treatment program for men convicted of spousal assault. Dr. Dutton has published over 100 papers and four books, including Domestic Assault of Women
; The Batterer: A Psychological Profile
, which has been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, and Polish; and Rethinking Domestic Violence
. He has frequently served as an expert witness in civil trials involving intimate abuse and in criminal trials involving family violence.
Serves as a text in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on domestic violence, social work practice with families, and related topics.
Previous editions published by Guilford:
First Edition, © 1998
New to this edition:
- Incorporates important advances in research on attachment, trauma research, and other areas.
- Chapters on the neurobiological roots of abusive behavior and the development of abusiveness in females.