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Culturally-Focused Batterer Counseling for African-American Men, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2005
136 pages
This study compared the effectiveness of culturally-focused batterer counseling with that of conventional cognitive-behavioral counseling for domestically violent African-American men.

Concerted research attention has been paid to the challenge of counseling African-American men who have been arrested for domestic violence. Research has revealed that this group of offenders has high dropout rates and that cultural differences may be compounding the problem. Many domestic violence counseling programs have thus turned to culturally-focused counseling that is designed to speak to the culturally specific issues of racially homogenous groups. While this type of approach seems promising, scant research has investigated the effectiveness of this type of counseling, especially in comparison to more traditional methods of domestic violence interventions. The current study randomly assigned 501 African-American domestically violent men to 1 of 3 treatment conditions: (1) culturally-focused counseling in a completely African-American group; (2) conventional counseling in a completely African-American group; and (3) conventional counseling in a racially-mixed group. The analysis focused on program dropout, partner-reported re-assaults during the 12-month follow-up period, and re-arrest for domestic violence during the 12-month follow-up period. Data were obtained through interviews with female partners of the treatment participants, official police records, and treatment records. Results of statistical analyses indicated no apparent benefit from the all-African-American culturally-focused or conventional counseling groups. The 16-week program completion rates across all three groups was 55 percent; logistic regression analyses showed a significant association between program dropout and re-assault and re-arrest. No significant differences were reported for re-assault across the three treatment groups, however men in the racially-mixed groups were only half as likely to be re-arrested for domestic violence in comparison to the racially-homogenous treatment groups. The findings suggest the need for more research on culturally-sensitive treatment approaches, particularly in different settings and contexts. Figures, tables, references

Date Published: August 1, 2005