Identification of the psychopathic batterer: The clinical, legal, and policy implications

Matthew T. Huss, Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

61 Scopus citations


A number of theoretical and empirical sources have proposed that a subgroup of domestically violent men exhibit more antisocial behavior, express more generalized violence, and are generally more resistant to mental health intervention than others. In a parallel literature, researchers have identified a subgroup of violent criminal offenders (i.e., psychopaths) that exhibit a number of similar characteristics to this more antisocial/generally violent group of batterers. Moreover, the offender literature on psychopathy describes the violence tendencies, physiological responses, cognitive impairments, interpersonal/affective characteristics, and treatment responsiveness of these individuals in much greater depth and breadth than the current domestic violence literature. The present article seeks to compare and contrast these two literatures, proposing that there is a subgroup of batterers that can be characterized as exhibiting significant psychopathic characteristics. The clinical, legal, and policy implications of identifying a subgroup of batterers in this manner also are explored. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-422
Number of pages20
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Law

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