Assessing Male Batterers - Development of the Power and Control Inventory

Grant Winners

  • David Shapiro, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Tara S. Jungersen, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Rachel Powers, M.S. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Cynthia Ivy, M.S. – Center for Psychological Studies


  • Karen S. Grosby, M.Ed. – Center for Psychological Studies


Award Winners

This proposal describes a quasi-experimental cross-sectional clinical interview of domestic violence offenders' key personality characteristics. Lack of accurate assessment of the batterer is a contributing factor to current domestic violence recidivism rates. Many risk assessment instruments exist for the assessment and prediction of future violence, including assessments for sex offenders, juvenile offenders, death penalty offenders, and the seriously mentally ill. Some are actuarial or are based on a structured clinical interview and judgment, but few of these instruments have been validated in a population of perpetrators of domestic violence. Few assessments measure the personality characteristics of males in order to evaluate their risk of committing future domestic violence. Effective batterer assessment requires a grasp of key characteristics, including the batterer's need to achieve power and maintain control of others (Walker, 1979), a need for interpersonal control (Dutton, 1995), and a propensity to use violence instrumentally and methodically in the home to achieve goals (Jacobson & Gottman, 1998). Additionally, batterers are characteristically insecure and have a pronounced need for respect from others (Dutton, 1995), and have a sense of entitlement, which leads them to feel justified in their use of physical intimidation (Bancroft & Silverman, 2002).

In the proposed study, the Power and Control Inventory (PCI) is being created in order to provide forensic psychologists an additional assessment tool based on the unique personality variables found to be correlated with male battering. The goal of the PCI is to improve the scope and accuracy of assigning risk levels and to identify primary issues of different batterers. The purpose of the proposed study is to establish the reliability and validity of the Power and Control Inventory. The development of an accurate batterer's risk assessment has the potential to more accurately predict future violence in specific offenders, thus decreasing rates of domestic violence.