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Culturally-Focused Batterer Counseling for African-American Men

NCJ Number
Criminology & Public Policy Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2007 Pages: 341-366
Date Published
May 2007
26 pages

This study examined the effectiveness of culturally-focused counseling with African-American men arrested for domestic violence by comparing their recidivism rates with a group of all African-American men who received conventional cognitive-behavioral counseling and a mixed-group of men who also received the conventional cognitive-behavioral counseling.


Results indicated no significant differences between the three treatment groups in the rate of reassault (23 percent overall) during the 12-month followup period. Moreover, men in the racially mixed group were half as likely to be rearrested for domestic violence as the men in the culturally-focused group. The men’s level of racial identity had no significant impact on the outcomes of the counseling options. The findings suggest that simply adding a culturally-focused component to domestic violence counseling does not in itself improve outcomes. The author suggests that since the culturally-focused program under investigation was an appendage to an existing agency with close ties to the criminal justice system, community-based organizations might be more effective at providing culturally-focused counseling programming, particularly if they have ties to local services and support mechanisms. The research compared 3 counseling options, all of which required a minimum of 16 weekly group sessions: (1) culturally-focused counseling in an all African-American group; (2) conventional cognitive-behavioral counseling in an all African-American group; and (3) conventional cognitive-behavioral counseling in a mixed race group. Future research should investigate whether programs that take on a peace-building or healing approach, rather than a punitive approach, might be more effective at reducing domestic violence recidivism. The 503 participants completed a structured background questionnaire at program intake as well as the Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test, and the Racial Identity Attitudes Scale. The men were then randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups. Outcome measurements were provided by the female partners of the participants 12 months following program completion. Female partners completed the Conflict Tactic Scales, which reports on violent incidents, and completed a subjective appraisal of their feelings of safety and well-being. Data were analyzed using multivariate models and cross-tabulations were calculated using chi-square statistics. Tables, footnotes, references

Date Published: May 1, 2007