Category: Couples / Close Relationships

Symposium

A Novel ACT-Based Batterers Intervention Program: What Mechanisms Lead to Changes in Aggressive Behaviors?

Saturday, November 18
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom I & J, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Intimate Partner Aggression | Experiential Avoidance | Treatment Development
Presentation Type: Symposium

Most states mandate participation in batterers interventions program (BIPs) for men who are charged with assault against an intimate partner.  However, BIPs have limited effectiveness, with only a modest impact on reducing repeat domestic violence. The effect sizes of BIPs are much smaller than the effect sizes of other behavior change programs such as substance abuse treatments (e.g., Dutra, Stathopoulou, Basden, Leyro, Powers, & Otto, 2008) and offender rehabilitative programs (e.g., Landenberger & Lipsey, 2005). Moreover, it is unknown how and why BIPs work, when they do.


If we are to improve BIP outcomes, is essential to examine relevant processes and mechanisms that change over the course of treatment and may contribute to positive change in IPV behaviors.  By focusing on the mechanisms that lead participants to change, it will provide much needed insight into promising theoretically informed strategies that can lead to men reducing their use of violent and/or controlling behaviors.


The current study examined a novel ACT-based BIP targeting experiential avoidance that has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing recidivism relative to a traditional CBT/ Duluth approach. Men (N=64) were assigned to treatment and completed questionnaires online prior to starting BIP treatment and mid-way through treatment (3 months after the initial assessment).  Linear regressions were conducted examining experiential avoidance as a predictor of partner violence perpetration. Results suggested that reductions in experiential avoidance from pre-treatment to mid-treatment predicted reductions in self-reported physical aggression against a romantic partner (b= -.243, R2 change= .26, p<.05). Full results and implications will be discussed.

Amie Zarling

Assistant Professor
Iowa State University

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