ERIC Number: ED146479
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
Reference Count: 0
Selected Results from a Study of Personality Characteristics of Child Abusing Mothers.
Evans, Alan L.
The purpose of this study was to investigate personality characteristics of child abusers, utilizing the results of the Melnick-Hurley (1969) study. Subjects were 40 mothers receiving Aid to Dependent Children in Ingham County, Michigan. Each of the 20 "abusive" mothers had abused at least one of her children within six months prior to testing. To measure differences between the abusive and nonabusive mothers, an objective questionnaire and a projective test were administered. Findings support a report by Melnick and Hurley of major personality differences between abusive and non-abusive mothers. These differences appear independent of race. The present results more firmly outline the pervasiveness of the abusive mother's psychopathology, and suggest that basic character traits, such as Trust versus Mistrust of others, are involved, while information and attitudes toward discipline seem less relevant. This finding implies that psychotherapy for abusive women might fruitfully focus upon basic developmental issues. These clear personality differences also raise the possibility of useful predictive measures. (Author/JLL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (Seattle, Washington, April 1977)