Profiling of Wife Assaulters: Preliminary Evidence for a Trimodal Analysis

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A review of the experimental literature on wife assault causation indicates that differing “profiles” of wife assaulters have been developed by different research strategies. Profiles based on interviews with victims suggest a tyrannical, personality-disordered type of wife assaulter. Clinical assessments reveal several profiles, only one of which is consistent with this view. Other types of wife assaulters are dependent and unassertive. By comparing the emerging data on wife assaulters with the initial clinical descriptions, an assessment is made of the contribution of empirical studies to date. While the potential for a major contribution to our understanding of wife assaulters exists through use of systematic empirical methods, it is concluded that this potential has not yet been fulfilled. Some suggestions are made for future research strategies to improve empirical capabilities in furthering this understanding, including a more thorough assessment of early trauma as a major causative factor affecting a large subcategory of wife assaulters and greater attention to the self-selection of wife assault samples.

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