First Advisor

Eric Mankowski

Date of Publication

Fall 12-2-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology






Oregon. Crime Victims' Services Division, Victims of family violence -- Services for -- Oregon -- Evaluation, Intimate partner violence -- Government policy -- Oregon -- Evaluation, Health services administration -- Oregon -- Attitudes, Intimate partner violence -- Oregon -- Prevention



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 539 pages)


The study of policy implementation has recently garnered research and federal attention highlighting the importance of implementation in achieving desired policy and program outcomes (Durlak & DuPre, 2008; Meyers, Durlak & Wandersman, 2012; National Institutes of Health, 2013). Psychology is one discipline that is well poised to guide the study of policy implementation as it can inform the creation, development, and outcomes associated with the introduction of a policy (Esses & Dovidio, 2011; Fischhoff, 1990). Given that batterer intervention programs (BIPs) have been developed to prevent future intimate partner violence (IPV) and improve victim safety, ensuring these programs have successfully implemented state standards for practice is immensely important. Despite the widespread use of state standards to guide BIP practices (Maiuro & Eberle, 2008), only one study (Boal, 2010) has assessed the extent to which BIPs comply with standards and no research has evaluated program responses to standards or the process by which implementation occurs. Given this, the current study focused on four areas of inquiry: (1) program compliance with state standards; (2) current and former BIP representatives' response to standards, including the social psychological constructs of actual control, perceived control, retrospective accounts of attitude change, absoluteness, and legitimacy; (3) program compliance as it relates to these responses; and (4) the process of implementing standards. In order to address these topics, key program representatives were assessed using a sequential mixed-methods design, which consisted of a preliminary quantitative phase (i.e., Phase One) (n = 35, response rate = 74%) and principal qualitative phase (i.e., Phase Two) (current providers: n = 13, response rate = 87%; former providers: n = 5, response rate = 100%) (Morgan, 1998). Findings from Phase One indicate that programs complied with 75% of the assessed components of standards. Phase Two findings suggest that participants primarily voiced experiences with the standards consistent with a lack of actual control, perceived control, and legitimacy. Contrary to hypotheses a statistically reliable difference in actual control, perceived control, and legitimacy were not detected across high and low compliance participants. Participants retrospectively described responses to the standards consistent with changing and maintaining negative attitudes towards the standards (31% and 31% respectively) and as hypothesized, those who shifted negative initial attitudes to be positive (i.e., a proxy for rationalization) were primarily from high compliance programs (75%) and those who maintained negative attitudes (i.e., a proxy for reactance) were all from low compliance programs (100%). While participants generally perceived the standards as primarily absolute, this construct did not differentiate those who changed and maintained negative attitudes as predicted. Participants' utilized diverse strategies to implement the standards and have changed or attempted to change many program characteristics to better comply with state standards. Participants have experienced diverse enablers to compliance (e.g., positive community collaborations; participation in the research process) and barriers to compliance (e.g., negative or lack of community collaborations; challenges understanding the standards) while attempting to implement standards. Suggestions to better facilitate compliance aligned with the enablers and barriers and centered on the need for positive information-sharing relationships among providers. Finally, former providers tended to disagree that the standards were the primary reason for program closure. Together, these findings provide valuable insight into the manifestation of common social psychological constructs during the policy implementation process, as well as information regarding the logistics of implementation. The information gathered in this study can be applied to better understand the role of actual control, perceived control, retrospective accounts of attitude change, absoluteness, and legitimacy, as they are experienced in the real world in relation to an actual policy. This extends the study of these constructs out of a laboratory and experimental context and suggests aspects of these constructs that may be relevant in applied settings. Further, data regarding the policy implementation process is useful to inform policymakers about the diverse steps that can be taken to assist implementation efforts and increase compliance.


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