A theoretical batterer typology within Adler's model of personality development

Jennice Shereen Vilhauer, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to examine whether the 3 battering subtypes established by Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart in their 1994 battering typology could be differentiated by early socialization patterns/lifestyle themes of Alfred Adler's developmental personality theory. Viewing their typology within Adler's model of personality development provides a missing link between risk factors and actual behavior, by providing a theoretical explanation for what motivates behavior, and allows for a comparative examination between types of batterers on their developed lifestyle themes. The study tested the null-hypothesis which stated that batterer subtypes would not have different response profiles for early socialization factors. The study included 137 men who were court referred for domestic violence treatment. Each participant was given the following measures: a demographic questionnaire, Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III), Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS), Generality of Violence Scale (GVS), Basic Adlerian Scales of Interpersonal Success (BASIS-A), Conflict Tactics Scale: Parent-Child Adult Recall, and the Conflict Tactics Scale: Relationship Between My Parents. In order to establish group membership of the participants, a cluster analysis was conducted using the CTS; subscales of the MCMI-III; and the GVS. Each of these measures independently assessed 1 of 3 descriptive dimensions including severity/frequency of violence, generality of violence, and psychopathology, across which each of the subtypes was believed to differ. A 3-cluster solution was determined to be most meaningful. The clusters were labeled based on their descriptive characteristics as the high pathology group, the antisocial group, and the low pathology/violence group. Three discriminant function analyses were then conducted with the 3 clusters as the criterion variables and 12 predictor variables, which consisted of scores from 5 major and 5 minor subscales of the BASIS-A, and separate scores for Witnessing and Experiencing Violence. The results of the discriminant function analyses revealed that patterns of early childhood socialization/lifestyle themes did differ between battering subtypes on dimensions of aggression, social desirability, interpersonal stability, and total experienced within-family violence. Thus, the development of the Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart battering subtypes can be viewed from within Adler's model of personality development. Implications for treatment possibilities and recommendations for future research were addressed.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Vilhauer, Jennice Shereen, "A theoretical batterer typology within Adler's model of personality development" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3084917.