Clinical assessment of domestic violence has traditionally relied on self-report methods of data collection, using structured interviews and lengthy questionnaires such as the MMPI-2. However, in certain situations such as court-ordered domestic violence evaluations, information obtained through self-report methods may be tainted because of willful impression management on the part of the client. The purpose of the current study was to compare selfreport response styles of individuals with varying levels of domestic violence potential in order to determine whether the measures used could accurately differentiate between the groups. Individuals who were currently involved in child custody cases were court ordered to an anger assessment clinic to determine their potential for domestic violence because they had been accused of domestic abuse. Participants were classified into three groups: (a) documented domestic violence (n = 12), (b) high risk for domestic violence (n = 16), and (c) minimal risk for domestic violence (n = 24), and completed several measures of personality including the MMPI-2. Results indicated that the majority of individuals from all three groups used impression management techniques in an attempt to enhance their appearance. However, documented perpetrators of domestic violence still tended to score higher on specific measures of aggression despite their attempts to minimize. These results imply that individuals accused of domestic violence may employ impression management regardless of their guilt or innocence; therefore, the evaluation process should not disproportionately rely on self-reports.
Helfritz, Laura A.; Stanford, Matthew S.; Conklin, Sarah M.; Greve, Kevin W.; Villemarette-Pittman, Nicole R.; and Houston, Rebecca J.
"Usefulness of Self-Report Instruments in Assessing Men Accused of Domestic Violence,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 56
, Article 1.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol56/iss2/1