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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The motavation of male batterers and battered wives: a multi-case study using story sequence analysis Kelly, Lillian Mary


This multi-case study explored the motivation patterns of 11 battered women and 3 male batterers. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and Arnold’s story sequence analysis were utilized to obtain and analyze a series of 13 stories from each subject. Story imports were extrapolated from the subject’s story sequence to expose the motivating attitudes and were matched to a scoring criteria. The motivating attitudes form a pattern delineated in clinical evaluations. Then the imports and clinical evaluations of the battered women and male batterers were matched in a cross-case analysis of their respective groups. Finally, as a comparative validity measure, the cross-case analyses for each group were matched to the attitudes, values, and behaviors attributed to each group in the research literature. The battered wives, and the male batterers demonstrated negative motivation patterns. Therefore Arnold’s passive, pessimistic, self-centered, and malicious negative motivation pattern descriptions were used in the cross-case analyses. Negative passive and pessimistic patterns of motivation were common across both groups expressing a lack of contingency between actions and outcome, and pessimistic beliefs that one cannot overcome adversity by one’s own actions. These patterns matched learned helplessness that research has associated with battered wives, and depression, low self-esteem, and external locus of control attributed to male batterers. These results indicated that both battered women and male batterers have likely developed learned helplessness through their histories of family of origin violence. Additional results included patterns of motivation for the battered women matching the attributes of post-traumatic stress syndrome. The male batterers showed two patterns of motivation positive, passive, and pessimistic pattern and passive, pessimistic with self-centered and malicious motivation, which match the typical, and the narcissistic/anti-social types found for batterers in other research. This study, though exploratory in nature, contributes clarity to a vast and unwieldy theory on wife battering by revealing the underlying motivation of batterers and battered wives, and by exposing the correspondence of differing theoretical views to the same motivation patterns. Therefore the common motivation patterns found in this study provided a more clear analysis of the problems in living for battered women and male batterers. These motivation patterns can provide guidance regarding the dysfunction of these clients that can be utilized by clinicians in designing effective treatment for the problems of male batterers and of battered wives. Additionally the motivation patterns revealed through the TAT and story sequence analysis are effective and efficient means for accessing tacit self-knowledge that calls for further research.

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