This study will develop an individual behavior therapy for men who are violent toward their
partners and will compare the therapy to standard group treatment.
To date, treatment interventions for domestic abuse perpetrators have been conducted almost
exclusively in groups. However, the efficacy of such treatments relative to no treatment has
not been thoroughly evaluated. Evidence suggests that individual treatments may be more
effective than group treatments. This study will combine motivational enhancement therapy
with cognitive and behavior change techniques to treat men who abuse their partners.
This study will be conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, an individual cognitive behavior
therapy (ICBT) manual will be constructed. During Phase 2, participants will be randomly
assigned to receive either 16 sessions of ICBT or 16 sessions of standard group therapy. Data
on abusive behavior outcomes and secondary treatment targets will be collected from
participants and their partners every 3 months for 1 year after the study.
- Involved in male-to-female physical aggression in the past 12 months or has a history
of severe male-to-female aggression in a relationship
- Current involvement in a primary intimate relationship (cohabiting, dating, or
married) for at least 6 months, with partner contact at least once per week
- Willingness to provide written consent for partner contact
- Partner provides verbal assent for the use of information during an initial phone
interview and agrees to be re-contacted for scheduled follow-up interviews
- Psychotic symptoms or severe mood disorder
- Mental retardation, autism, dementia, delirium, catatonia, or other severe cognitive
- Severe head trauma in the past two years
- Seizure disorder
- Current diagnosis of alcohol dependence or drug dependence. Participants must be in
remission for at least 6 months if a past diagnosis is present.