Why Are Some Men Abusive Towards Women and What are Their Personality Types?

A growing issue in our society is the battering and abuse of women in relationships with men. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, from 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female. Approximately 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. This is an alarming number for females being physically injured in domestic relationships and should raise red flags as to why some men perpetrate these awful actions towards women and if there is a way to tell which personalities are more common when it comes to this sort of violent behavior. This sort of information could potentially provide information to women in relationships that could warn them about potential violent behavior from their partners.

This study published in Pubmed attempted to identify common characteristics found in men with tendencies towards abusive behaviors in relationships. They conducted a survey and interviewed with 572 men and their cohabiting partners by themselves in a room and asked them health-related questions and questions about physical and emotional abuse. The result was that 13.6% of men interviewed had performed at least one act of physical violence towards their partner and 34.9% had emotionally abused their partner beforehand. The answers to the questions overall showed that there was a positive correlation between abusive behavior and alcoholism, antisocial behavior, depressive symptoms and financial stress in the perpetrators. This could potentially warn women about mates who showcase similar patterns like men who constantly drink excessively , or who can’t seem to interact effectively with other individuals. However, there are flaws in the study which can’t be overlooked. First of all, all of these individuals were taken from the same county. Therefore, geographical factors might somehow influence  the results of the survey as a third confounding variable. Additionally, the men and women could have hidden certain abusive behaviors from the researchers which could’ve led to a faulty conclusion. Furthermore, human memory is fallible and so these individuals may have forgotten cases where they committed physical and emotional abuse which in turn may also  lead to an underestimation of abuse in the conclusions of the study.

An additional study published in Pubmed that specifically sought to find a relationship between certain traits in men and their abusive tendencies found the same as the previous study in concerns to anti-social behavior. It seems that on the scale, men with abusive tendencies seemed to be more prone to having anti-social behavior in their daily lives. These abusive men were also found to have a higher chance of having been subjected to physical or emotional abuse in their childhoods. This study only consisted of 21 participants so the sample size was relatively small. However it gives us some potential insight on the causes and signs of an abusive partner. Both found a positive correlation between anti-social tendencies and physical and emotional abuse, so that could definitely be impact when it comes to defining what is is that causes men to become abusive and how scientists may be able to advise others on how to prevent such a behavior from developing successfully.

I was not able to find further studies on the topic. This is probably because it is a private issue that many do not wish to report on and when they do so, may understate or respond inaccurately to the questions (if a survey/interview is conducted). Also experimentation on this topic is hard because we cannot subject others to physical harm since that is undoubtedly unethical in the scientific world. All that scientists can rely on is information that is already there and many times the information provided may not be so reliable. A theory that could explain the development of abusive tendencies lead to battering of women may be previous childhood abuse, as shown in the second study listed. However as we far as we can tell from these two studies, anti-social behavior may be warning characteristics for these sorts of individuals. According to PsychCentral, anti-social disorders may be associated with people who lack empathy, display arrogance, inflated self-appraisal and superficial charm. They may also be overtly aggressive towards others for nonsensical reasons. By knowing what qualities to watch out for, maybe women will actively attempt to avoid men who display them which may reduce (slightly) the rate in which women enter abusive relationships. On a final note, we should also not ignore abuse perpetrated by women to men. However, I chose to focus solely on the abuse from men to women as this abuse is more frequently heard of and is statistically occurs more often than the other way around.