Stages of Change in Batterers and Their Response to Treatment

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One important dimension of individual differences among batterers is their readiness to change. According to the transtheoretical model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984), all individuals go through precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance before a change in behavior is accomplished. The applicability of this model to intimate partner violence was assessed by administering the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (URICA) scales (with reference to their domestic violent behavior) to 210 court-ordered male batterers. Their responses were clustered, and two clusters were derived and then compared on other measures. As hypothesized, cluster 2 individuals (characterized by a profile of URICA scale scores suggesting an earlier stage of change) self-reported less initial distress (depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse), less violence, and fewer problems with anger than cluster 1 individuals (characterized by URICA scale sores suggesting a later stage of change), although partners reported no difference in violence perpetrated by the two clusters. Cluster 1 individuals evidenced greater improvement in self-reported depression, anxiety, and anger control. Strategies to engage the more resistant cluster 2 individuals as well as suggestions for future research are considered.

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