Masochism: A Clinical and Theoretical Overview

Robert L. Sack, Warren Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This Paper will review some of the theoretical and clinical features of masochism from an eclectic point of view. The topic of masochism has been taken up by authors of many perspectives because it addresses one of the anomalous, absurd, difficult-to-explain aspects of behavior for which no psychological system has an easy answer. Therefore, a wide-ranging literature on the topic of masochism is available. However, few previous reviewers have attempted to draw from a variety of disciplines and theoretical frameworks. In this review the historical development of the term and some of the psychoanalytic conceptualizations will be presented first. Since previous reviews of masochism from a strictly psychoanalytic perspective are adequate (Brenner, 1959; Eisenbud, 1967; Fenichel, 1945; Loewenstein, 1957; Panken, 1967), our discussions of masochism will be developed employing more extensively the interpersonal, social, learning theory, and biological perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-257
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry (New York)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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