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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2004 Apr;72(2):202-17.

Partner violence before and after couples-based alcoholism treatment for male alcoholic patients: the role of treatment involvement and abstinence.

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  • 1Families and Addiction Program and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02301, USA.


This study examined partner violence before and after behavioral couples therapy (BCT) for 303 married or cohabiting male alcoholic patients and used a demographically matched nonalcoholic comparison sample. In the year before BCT, 60% of alcoholic patients had been violent toward their female partner, 5 times the comparison sample rate of 12%. In the 1st and 2nd year after BCT, violence decreased significantly from the year before BCT, and clinically significant violence reductions occurred for patients whose alcoholism was remitted after BCT. Structural equation modeling indicated that greater treatment involvement (attending BCT sessions and using BCT-targeted behaviors) was related to lower violence after BCT and that this association was mediated by reduced problem drinking and enhanced relationship functioning.

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