Partner Aggressive Women: Characteristics and Treatment Attrition

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The topic of female partner aggression has been controversial for over 20 years, and yet we lack a coherent body of literature that describes the phenomenon. Furthermore, we know little about what treatment approaches effectively reduce partner aggression in women. Data for this study were derived from the initial evaluations of 107 domestically violent, heterosexual women referred to an anger management program. Descriptive statistics were used to expand our knowledge of the characteristics of this population. In addition, a number of variables were analyzed to determine their relevance to treatment dropout. Overall, women tended to be socioeconomically disadvantaged and undereducated, with histories of childhood attachment disruptions and victimization, mental health problems, and substance abuse. Participants that had been court mandated were more likely to complete treatment, while nonmandated women had fewer pretreatment arrests and were more likely to drop out after the initial intake. The implications for treatment are discussed, and suggestions for further investigation are offered.

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