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Stages of Change and the Group Treatment of Batterers

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2007
67 pages
Pamela C. Alexander
This study compared the following two treatment methods on their effectiveness in reducing men's violence against their intimate partners: a stages-of-change (SOC) treatment approach supplemented by motivational interviewing techniques and a standard cognitive-behavioral therapy gender-re-education (CBTGR).
The study found that self-reported aggression at posttreatment was unrelated to treatment condition; however, based on victim followup reports, the SOC curriculum was more effective than standard CBTGR treatment in reducing women's risk for physical aggression from their male partners, especially among English-speakers. The SOC condition was particularly effective for first-time offenders, for men who were court-ordered to treatment, and for men in an earlier underlying stage of change. On the other hand, the SOC condition was no more effective than the CBTGR condition in reducing the violence of men with multiple admissions, histories of trauma, or source of referral as a function of their assignment to different treatment conditions. The SOC condition was based on a motivational intervening model that included the use of open-ended questions, asking about both positive and negative aspects of the problem, listening reflectively, being willing to revise these reflections upon clarification from the client, highlighting discrepancies between clients' values and their behavior, affirming a client's efforts to change, and reflecting upon his ambivalence about changing. The CBTGR condition emphasized presenting reasons why clients should change their behavior. The sample consisted of 528 batterers, 96.1 percent of whom were court-ordered to treatment. They were randomly assigned to a total of 19 English-speaking groups in the SOC conditions (200 men); 16 English-speaking groups in the CBTGR conditions (175 men); 4 Spanish-speaking groups in the SOC conditions (47 men); and 10 Spanish-speaking groups in the CBTGR condition (106 men). Criteria for treatment outcomes are explained. 9 tables, 9 figures, 115 references, and appended therapist adherence items

Date Created: August 18, 2009