Differential Utility of Skills-Based Interventions for Proactive and Reactive Batterers



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The current study reexamines data from Babcock and colleagues (2011) proximal change experiment to discern the differential utility of communication skills-based interventions between Proactive and Reactive batterers. Given that communication styles and motivations for violence are markedly different for Reactive and Proactive batterers, the aim of this study was to conduct a preliminary treatment matching study for Proactive and Reactive batterers. We hypothesized that Proactive men would exhibit more positive emotional and behavioral change following the Accepting Influence intervention while Reactive men would exhibit more positive emotional and behavior change following the ‘Editing out the Negative’ intervention. Partners of Proactive and Reactive men were also hypothesized to exhibit similar patterns of behavioral and emotional changes. Results found that batterers were able to learn both skills equally well. While a series of MANCOVAs found no differences by type of batterers’ response to different interventions, contrast analyses revealed a trend. Reactive batterers tended to feel less aggressive after completing the ‘Editing out the Negative’ intervention in comparison to the Proactive batterers who completed the ‘Accepting influence’ intervention (t= 1.49, p = .10) and tended to exhibit less negative affect in comparison to Reactive batterers that completed the Accepting Influence intervention ( t = 19.1, p = .03). Partners of Reactive men who completed the ‘Editing out the Negative’ intervention also became significantly less aggressive compared to women whose partners completed the ‘Accepting Influence’ intervention (t = 4.67, p = 0.03). Findings of the current study lend some support for tailoring interventions specific to batterer type and eliminating the ‘one size fits all trend’ for batterer intervention programs.



Intimate partner violence, Domestic violence, Proactive, Reactive