Evaluation of acceptance and commitment therapy for domestic violence offenders.

Objective: There are currently few empirically supported batterer intervention programs (BIPs) for perpetrators of domestic violence. In practice, a combination of psychoeducation on power and control dynamics (i.e., Duluth Model) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques are widely used in BIPs but produce limited effects on violent recidivism. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the impact of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based program (Achieving Change Through Values-Based Behavior [ACTV]; Lawrence, Langer Zarling, & Orengo-Aguayo, 2014) on reducing new criminal charges 1 year postintervention compared with the traditional treatment (a combination of the Duluth Model and CBT). Method: Administrative data were collected from a sample of 3,474 men who were arrested for domestic assault and court-mandated to a BIP (nonrandomized either ACTV or Duluth/CBT) from 2011 to 2013. Incidence and frequency of new criminal charges were examined during the intervention time period as well as 12 months postintervention time period, and analyses were completed for the entire intent-to-treat sample as well as treatment completers only. Results: Compared with Duluth/CBT participants, significantly fewer ACTV participants acquired any new charges, domestic assault charges, or violent charges. ACTV participants also acquired significantly fewer charges on average in the 1 year after treatment than Duluth/CBT participants. This pattern of results emerged for both treatment completers and noncompleters. ACTV had a significantly higher dropout rate. Conclusions: This investigation provides preliminary evidence for the feasibility and effectiveness of an ACT-based group for men who have been arrested for domestic assault. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)