Attitudinal Change in Participants of Partner Assault Response (PAR) Programs: A Pilot Project

5. Implications and Recommendations

There is a recognized need for improvement in intervention programs for abusive men. To guide this improvement, efficient strategies for measuring men's progress through intervention are required. The results of the current study have a number of implications for such investigations, listed as follows.

  1. There is good potential for the use of attitude measures in the evaluation of PAR programs. A key need in current evaluation of batterer intervention programs is for better understanding of mechanisms of change. In other words, we need to know how PAR programs may promote reductions in abusive behaviour. Attitudes towards abuse and personal responsibility, partner blaming, denial of expected relationship difficulties seem to have good initial support and are well linked to goals of PAR programs.
  2. Change in knowledge, particularly knowledge about abuse-supporting thoughts, also has potential in evaluating PAR programs. Another goal of PAR programs is change in knowledge. Examination of men's responses to knowledge revealed adequate knowledge of abusive behaviour, but deficits in knowledge of abuse supporting cognitions. Thus, assessment of men's knowledge of health and unhealthy thoughts maybe is useful as an indicator of program outcome.
  3. The intervention needs of men attending PAR programs voluntarily, though EIC referral and through Coordinated Prosecution are not substantially different. In general, the attitudes and knowledge of men attending PAR programs via different referral streams were similar. These results suggest that differentiating service according to referral source is not likely to be helpful.
  4. Current analyses of change in men's attitudes and knowledge from pre- to post-intervention are limited due the small sample size. The current study included preliminary investigations of change in men's attitudes and knowledge as a way to further examine the utility of created questionnaires. These analyses were based on a small sample of men, and cannot be used to make conclusions about the efficacy of PAR programs. Investigation of efficacy of intervention for promoting change in attitudes and knowledge among abusive men needs to be investigated with a larger sample of men, preferably from a number of different agencies providing intervention.
  5. Information is still critically on the expected links between attitudes and knowledge. The current study focused on the impact of PAR program participation on men's attitude and knowledge. The link between these changes in attitudes and potential changes in abusive behaviour has not yet been made. Further research is critically needed to determine if attitude behaviours identified are meaningful as predictors of change in abusive behaviour.
  6. Given the potential impact of abusive behaviour, studies of the efficacy of PAR programs must continue to include a measure of change in behaviour. Finally, it is important to recognize that even if attitudes relate strongly to abuse, it is necessary to continue to include a measure of abusive behaviour in studies of program outcome. This is essential given the nature of abusive behaviour and its potentially severe negative impact on the victims of such abuse. In this case, attitudes cannot function as a proxy for behaviour. Nevertheless, examination of attitude change has a potentially important role for identifying more and less successful intervention practices and for recognizing men who are not helped in currently available intervention programs.