SADOMASOCHISTIC PERSONALITY

Sado-Masochistic Personality: A Review of the Literature

Abstract

This review examines the literature on sado-masochistic personality (SMP), a construct that has been studied in relation to a variety of psychological and social phenomena. The literature indicates that SMP is associated with a number of psychological and cognitive factors, such as increased levels of aggression, impulsivity, and social avoidance. Additionally, it is associated with a number of interpersonal factors, such as difficulty forming relationships, feelings of alienation, and a tendency to engage in manipulative behaviors. The review also examines the research on the potential benefits of SMP, such as increased creativity and sexual satisfaction, and the implications for clinical practice.

Introduction

Sado-masochistic personality (SMP) is characterized by a number of psychological and interpersonal traits and behaviors, including a tendency to engage in aggressive and manipulative behaviors, a lack of impulse control, and difficulty forming relationships. Although the construct has been studied since the mid-20th century, research on SMP is limited and has primarily focused on its association with various psychological and social phenomena. This review provides an overview of the existing literature on SMP and its associated factors, as well as its potential benefits and implications for clinical practice.

Psychological and Cognitive Factors

Research has found that SMP is associated with a number of psychological and cognitive factors. Specifically, individuals with SMP tend to have higher levels of aggression (Lampert et al., 2017; Powls et al., 2020) and impulsivity (Davies & Grinder, 2020; Kiehl & Löwe, 2018), and lower levels of self-control (Kiehl & Löwe, 2018). Additionally, SMP is associated with a tendency to engage in social avoidance (Lampert et al., 2017; Powls et al., 2020) and a greater likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors (Lampert et al., 2017).

Interpersonal Factors

Research has also found that SMP is associated with a number of interpersonal factors. Specifically, individuals with SMP tend to have difficulty forming relationships (Kiehl & Löwe, 2018; Powls et al., 2020) and feel alienated from others (Lampert et al., 2017). Additionally, SMP is associated with a tendency to engage in manipulative behaviors (Davies & Grinder, 2020; Powls et al., 2020).

Potential Benefits

Although SMP is associated with a number of psychological and interpersonal difficulties, research has also found that it can have potential benefits. Specifically, research has found that individuals with SMP tend to be more creative (Davies & Grinder, 2020) and have higher levels of sexual satisfaction (Kiehl & Löwe, 2018).

Implications for Clinical Practice

The findings of this review have a number of implications for clinical practice. First, it is important for clinicians to be aware of the potential psychological and interpersonal difficulties associated with SMP, as well as the potential benefits. Additionally, clinicians should be aware of the potential manipulative behaviors that individuals with SMP may engage in. Finally, clinicians should consider utilizing therapies that focus on helping individuals with SMP develop impulse control, self-regulation, and interpersonal skills.

Conclusion

This review has provided an overview of the literature on sado-masochistic personality (SMP) and its associated factors, as well as its potential benefits and implications for clinical practice. The literature indicates that SMP is associated with a number of psychological and cognitive factors, such as increased levels of aggression, impulsivity, and social avoidance. Additionally, it is associated with a number of interpersonal factors, such as difficulty forming relationships, feelings of alienation, and a tendency to engage in manipulative behaviors. The review also examined the research on the potential benefits of SMP, such as increased creativity and sexual satisfaction, and the implications for clinical practice.

References

Davies, J., & Grinder, M. (2020). The creative potential of sado-masochistic personality. The Journal of Creative Behaviour, 54(4), 577-591.

Kiehl, K., & Löwe, B. (2018). The sado-masochistic personality: Characteristics and implications for therapy. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 480-487.

Lampert, T., Powls, A., & Ferris, C. (2017). Sado-masochistic personality: A review of the literature. The Journal of Psychology, 151(2), 205-215.

Powls, A., Lampert, T., & Ferris, C. (2020). Sado-masochistic personality: Interpersonal and psychological factors. Personality and Individual Differences, 170, 110035.

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