Applying the Transtheoretical Model to Female and Male Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence: Gender Differences in Stages and Processes of Change

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The Transtheoretical Model has been recently applied to men seeking services at battering intervention and prevention programs (Eckhardt, Babcock, & Homack, 2004; Murphy & Baxter, 1997). This study considers whether women arrested for intimate partner violence differ from male perpetrators in terms of stages of change and processes of change. No gender differences were found regarding stage of change. In general, all individuals presenting for treatment were in the early stages of change. The use of various processes of change was strongly related to stage of change, with individuals in the more advanced stages of change using more behavioral and experiential strategies to become nonviolent. However, except for the use of social liberation strategies, there were no gender differences in the use of the various processes. These findings suggest that the Transtheoretical Model may apply to female perpetrators equally as well as to male perpetrators. Intervention programs designed for male batterers using the Transtheoretical Model may also be helpful in the treatment of women arrested for domestic violence.

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