Effectiveness of Culturally-Focused Batterer Counseling for African American Men in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2001-2004 (ICPSR 4362)
Principal Investigator(s): Gondolf, Edward W., Indiana University of Pennsylvania
This study used an experimental clinical trial to test the effectiveness of culturally-focused batterer counseling against conventional cognitive-behavioral counseling in African American men. A total of 503 men, including all African American men mandated by the domestic violence court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to batterer counseling between November 2001 and May 2004, were randomly assigned to one of three counseling options: culturally-focused counseling in an all African American group, conventional counseling in an all African American group, or conventional counseling in a racially mixed group. All three counseling options required a minimum of 16 weekly group sessions. At program intake, the men completed a background questionnaire, the Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (SMAST) and the Racial Identity Scale (RAIS), contained in Part 1, Men's Intake Questionnaire Data. The men later completed a survey of past experiences of violence, contained in Part 2, Men's Past Violence Survey Data. The men were interviewed once at five months after program intake about their impressions of and ratings of the counseling. Results of those interviews are in Part 3, Men's Five-Month Follow-up Data. A female partner was interviewed for 399 of the male subjects at program intake. Their responses are contained in Part 4, Women's Background Data. Female partners (both initial victims and new partners) were interviewed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after the initial interview at the time of the men's program intake (Parts 5-8). The follow-up interviews asked about the women's relationship status, abusive behavior and its circumstances, help seeking, and additional intervention.
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Gondolf, Edward W. EFFECTIVENESS OF CULTURALLY-FOCUSED BATTERER COUNSELING FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, 2001-2004. ICPSR04362-v1. Indiana, PA: Edward W. Gondolf, Indiana University of Pennsylvania [producer], 2004. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-01-31. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04362.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04362.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2001-WT-BX-0003)
Scope of Study
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: individual
Universe: Parts 1-3: All men ordered to the batterer counseling program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania between November 2001 and May 2003. Parts 4-8: Female partners of all men ordered to the batterer counseling program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania between November 2001 and May 2003.
Data Types: survey data, and administrative records data
Study Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use an experimental clinical trial to test the effectiveness of culturally-focused batterer counseling against conventional cognitive-behavioral counseling in African American men. Culturally-focused counseling is designed to identify specific cultural topics and respond to emergent cultural issues in a racially-homogenous group that engages the men and is thought to affect program dropout, re-assault, and re-arrest rates among participants.
Study Design: An experimental clinical trial was used to test the expectation that culturally-focused counseling would improve batterer program outcomes. A total of 503 men, including all African American men mandated by the domestic violence court in Pittsburgh to batterer counseling between November 2001 and May 2003, were randomly assigned to one of three counseling options: culturally-focused counseling in an all African American group, conventional counseling in an all African American group, and conventional counseling in a racially mixed group. A staff member from the batterer program was stationed in the court to receive men ordered to batterer counseling and set an appointment for program intake within a week. The staff directed African American men to one of two sites in the city's predominantly African American neighborhoods. At the program intake, all the men completed a structured background questionnaire, the Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (SMAST), the Racial Identity Scale (RAIS) (Part 1), a research consent notice, and a contact information form. At the end of orientation, the men were randomly assigned to one of the three counseling options and began attending group counseling the next week. There were four groups available at each of the two sites: one culturally-focused group, one all African American group, and two racially mixed groups. Each group had a maximum enrollment of 20 men with an average attendance of 13, and met on a weekday evening. All three counseling options required a minimum of 16 weekly group sessions. The experimental group of culturally-focused counseling included a curriculum of cultural topics and discussion of emergent issues, along with basic anti-violence instructions, in a group of African American men. The conventional group counseling followed a cognitive-behavioral curriculum focused on abusive behavior and thought patterns associated with abuse. All of the men were assessed a weekly fee based on a sliding scale ranging from 5 dollars to 50 dollars. Two missed payments resulted in a two-week suspension from the program. If payment was not made within that time, the man was dismissed from the program and sent back to court for additional penalties. Men with three absences were also dismissed and returned to court. Every six weeks, through a combination of direct observation and audio tapes, all of the groups were monitored for "treatment integrity" on several aspects including curriculum presentation, group process, group leader, men's participation and overall impact. After observing several group sessions, the culturally-focused expert recommended that the African American men's previous exposure to violence be assessed. A checklist of violence towards (or from) different categories of people was developed (Part 2). It included observed and experienced incidents during pre-teen, teen, and adult periods of the men's lives. The men were interviewed once at five months after program intake (Part 3) about their impressions and their ratings of the counseling. Arrest records were also obtained for each of the men and coded for categories of domestic violence crimes, any violent crime, alcohol-related crimes, and any crime. An initial interview with the victim at the time of the man's intake obtained background data (Part 4), and victim reports of re-assault were obtained through follow-up interviews at 3 (Part 5), 6 (Part 6), 9 (Part 7) and 12 months (Part 8) after the initial interview. The follow-up interviews asked a combination of open-ended and closed-ended questions about the women's relationship status, abusive behavior and circumstances, help seeking, and additional intervention. The phone interview took from 10 to 20 minutes to administer with some interviews lasting 45 minutes if the the woman had suffered severe abuse. Two research assistants tracked the women using the contact form of names and address information obtained from the male subjects at program intake and updated with each follow-up interview. The women were informed about the study, were explained safety measures, and were asked for consent over the phone. For each completed interview, they were paid ten dollars through a check mailed to an address they designated. New partners were also interviewed when identified at program intake, however new partners that the men may have become involved with during the follow-up period were not sought out.
Sample: The sample recruited for the clinical trial (Part 1) consisted of 503 men. This number includes all the African American men ordered to the batterer counseling program in Pittsburgh between November 2001 and May 2003. Of these, 165 men were randomly assigned to the culturally-focused counseling group, 152 to the all African American conventional counseling group, and 186 to the racially mixed conventional counseling group. A female partner (Part 4) was interviewed for 399 of the male subjects at program intake. There were 34 new partners interviewed at the six-month (Part 6) follow-up in addition to 328 of the initial female victims. At the twelve-month (Part 8) follow-up, 31 new partners were interviewed along with 320 of the initial female victims. The administration of the past violence survey (Part 2) began four months after the start of subject recruitment. A total of 318 African American and 106 Caucasian men entering the program during the same time frame were included in the sample.
Mode of Data Collection: on-site questionnaire, record abstract, telephone interview
The data were collected from investigator-administered questionnaires and administrative records obtained from the county police department.
Description of Variables: Part 1, Men's Intake Questionnaire Data, includes variables from the Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (SMAST), the Racial Identity Attitudes Scale (RAIS), and the men's background questionnaire. Variables include attitudes on use of alcohol, racial group identification attitudes, men's demographic variables, variables on the status of the relationship, and variables on the abusive episode. Part 2, Men's Past Violence Survey Data, includes variables that asked the men about their past experiences with violence at three times in their lives: prior to age 13, as a teenager, and at age 20 or older. Part 3, Men's Five-Month Follow-up Data, includes variables about the men's impressions of and rating of the counseling five months after intake. Part 4, Women's Background Data, includes women's demographic variables, variables on relationship status, and the abusive episode. Part 5 through Part 8, Women's Follow-Up Data (at three-month intervals), includes variables on the women's relationship status, abusive episodes and circumstances, help seeking, and additional intervention.
Response Rates: For Part 1, the participation refusal rate among the men was 4 percent. For Part 2, 318 African American and 106 Caucasian men completed the past violence survey. Initially, a female partner was interviewed for 399 of the male subjects at program intake (Part 4), or 80 percent of the original 503 sample. A total of 383 men had a partner interviewed at the three-month (Part 5) or six-month (Part 6) follow-up, or 76 percent of the 503 sample. And 396 men had an interviewed partner sometime during the twelve-month (Part 8) follow-up period, or 79 percent of the 503 sample. The response rate for female victims was 66 percent for the full twelve-month follow-up period (0-12 months after intake, n=333), and 68 percent for the full six months after program intake (n=343). A response rate for Part 3 is not available.
Presence of Common Scales: The Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (SMAST) (Selzer, Vinokur, and Van Rooijen 1975) and the Racial Identity Attitudes Scale (RIAS) (Helms and Parham 1996) were used. Several Likert-type scales also were used.
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Original ICPSR Release: 2008-01-31
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