Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Richard Gelles

Abstract

This research examines the efficacy of existing interventions for battering men and assesses the applicability of the Transtheoretical Model of Change to the problem of violence desistance. In Chapter 1, separate meta-analyses of batterer treatment outcome studies relying on partner reports of recidivism (N=7) and official records (N=11) are conducted to assess treatment efficacy. A third analysis examines the overall rate of recidivism across studies that follow treatment completers (N=38). Results show that the effect of treatment is small at best and moderated largely by program, study, and publication variables. The overall rate of post-treatment recidivism is 21.6%. Chapter 2 traces the evolution of the battered women's movement and two interventions for assaultive men: arrest and treatment. It argues that these potentially powerful interventions are of limited efficacy for three reasons: 1) they are based on a sociopolitical understanding of violence and change rather than empirically validated theories of individual behavior change; 2) they tend to be standardized and "one size fits all," neglecting individual differences in readiness to change; 3) they tend to be confrontational and coercive. The Transtheoretical Model is presented as a new way of conceptualizing change in violent men and increasing treatment efficacy. In Chapters 3 and 4, measures of the core constructs of the Transtheoretical Model-stage of change, decisional balance, and self-efficacy-are developed, and tests of the applicability of the model to violence desistance are conducted. Batterers in treatment at two Rhode Island agencies (N=258) completed a questionnaire that included the new measures and measures of partner blame, violence in the last year, violence cessation strategies, demographics, treatment history, and social desirability. A 4-dimensional continuous measure and several algorithms were developed to assess change readiness. Cluster analysis yielded six change profiles using the continuous measure. Results provide strong evidence of the applicability of the model and external validity of the staging measures. For example, participants with early stage profiles minimized the pros and valued the cons of changing, and blamed their partners significantly more than later-stage participants. The need for longitudinal research and the benefit of stage-matched intervention s for battering men are discussed.

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