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Processes of Resistance in Domestic Violence Offenders

NCJ Number
Deborah A. Levesque Ph.D.
Date Published
October 2006
99 pages
In an effort to improve the Transtheoretical Model of Change’s (TTM’s) (stage of change) power to explain and facilitate change, three studies were conducted to examine “processes of resistance” in domestic violence offenders, as a separate and potentially multidimensional construct that could influence stage progression and regression.
Domestic violence programs tend to be highly structured, psychoeducational, and “one-size-fits-all,” neglecting individual differences in readiness to change. This project and future research on resistance can benefit the field in becoming more attuned to different forms of resistance and their potential impact on partner violence and offenders’ engagement in treatment. The Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM), in contrast, understands change as progress, over time, through a series of stages: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance, and posits that individuals are more likely to reduce resistance, facilitate treatment engagement, and produce behavior change when interventions are individualized and matched to individual stage of change, rather than one-size-fits-all. In an effort to improve the TTM’s power to explain and facilitate change, an examination, supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice was initiated to examine “processes of resistance” as a separate construct that can influence stage progression and regression. Three studies were conducted to examine resistance in domestic violence offenders. In Study One, an 88-item draft measure of resistance was developed and administered to 346 adult males in batterer treatment. In Study Two, the measure was administered to a separate sample of adult males at batterer program intake (n=358) and again 2-months later (n=256) in order to confirm the measure’s factor structure and its external validity. Only three types of resistance, System Blaming, Problems with Partner, and Hopelessness, decreased from program intake to followup. This suggests that domestic violence programs may be most attentive to those types of resistance. In Study Three, interviews with experts on domestic violence treatment were conducted in an initial attempt to identify strategies for dealing with resistance in batterer treatment. References, tables and appendixes A-D