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J Marital Fam Ther. 2012 Jun;38 Suppl 1:117-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00264.x. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Changes in negative attributions during couple therapy for abusive behavior: relations to changes in satisfaction and behavior.

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University of Maryland, Department of Family Science, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


This study examined effects of cognitive-behavioral couple therapy (n = 25 couples) and a variety of systems-oriented couple therapy models (n = 30 couples) in reducing negative attributions and degrees to which decreases in negative attributions were associated with improvements in other aspects of relationship functioning. Couples seeking treatment at a university clinic and experiencing psychological and/or mild-to-moderate physical abuse completed 10 weekly sessions. Attributions, relationship satisfaction, psychological abuse, communication, and negotiation were assessed before and after treatment. Women and men in both treatments exhibited decreased negative attributions, which moderated increases in satisfaction and decreases in negative communication, as well as increases in positive communication for men. The findings reinforce the importance of modifying negative attributions when intervening to reduce abuse.

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