Individualized Motivational Plans in Batterer Intervention Programs: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Objective: Treatment compliance and motivation to change are among the main challenges to improving batterer intervention program (BIP) effectiveness. This study examined whether adding an individualized motivational plan (IMP) to a standard BIP (SBIP) increased intervention effectiveness relative to BIP alone. Method: One hundred sixty males convicted of intimate partner violence were randomly assigned to receive 70 hr of either SBIP or SBIP plus IMP. The IMP is based on motivational interviewing, stages of change, and strength-based theory principles. We collected the data at baseline, at the end of the 9-month program and at 6-month follow-up. Final outcome was recidivism (recidivism data obtained from official databases, self-reported recidivism, and therapists’ assessment of recidivism risk), and proximal outcomes included treatment compliance (dropout and intervention dose), and stage of change. We analyzed the results using both intent-to-treat (ITT) and per-protocol (PP) approaches. Results: Findings indicated that the SBIP plus IMP participants received significantly more intervention dose (R2 = .08), finished the intervention in a more advanced stage of change (ITT, R2 = .17; PP, R2 = .22), reported less physical violence after treatment (ITT, odds ratio = .63; PP, odds ratio = .34), and had a higher reduction in recidivism risk (ITT, R2 = .64; PP, R2 = .56) than SBIP participants. Conclusions: These results highlight the relevance of alternative approaches, including strategies to increase treatment compliance and motivation for change, in BIPs.

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