First Advisor

Eric Mankowski

Date of Publication

Summer 8-8-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

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






Abusive men -- Social networks, Abusive men -- Counseling of, Intimate partner violence -- Prevention



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 378 pages)


Empirical research in the areas of substance abuse (Beattie & Longabaugh, 1997; Beattie & Longabaugh, 1999; Falkin & Strauss, 2002; Gordon & Zrull, 1991; Humphreys & Noke, 1997; Mohr et al., 2001; Zywiak, Longabaugh & Wirtz, 2002) and general antisocial behavior (Browning, 2002; Capaldi, Dishion, Stoolmiller & Yoerger, 2001; Dishion, Patterson & Griesler, 1994) and a theoretical model of sexual assault perpetration (DeKeseredy & Schwartz, 1993; DeKeseredy, 1990a; DeKeseredy, 1988; Schwartz & DeKeseredy, 1997) highlight the role of peer groups' attitudes and behaviors in shaping those of their members. Intimate partner violence (IPV) among men's parents (Arriaga & Foshee, 2004; Doumas, Margolin & John, 1994; Silverman & Wiliamson, 1997) and peer groups (Abbey, McAuslan, Zawacki, Brown & Messman-Moore, 2010; Clinton, & Buck, 2001; Capaldi et al., 2001; Raghavan, Rajah, Gentile, Collado, & Kavanagh, 2009; Reed, Silverman, Raj, Rothman, Decker, Gottlieb, Molnar, & Miller, 2008; Silverman & Williamson, 1997) is also related to their own perpetration of IPV, specifically. However, existing research is yet to examine the extent to which men participating in batterer intervention programs (BIPs), a common form of treatment for perpetrators of IPV, receive messages about the perpetration of IPV from within their social networks, or whether or how BIP participants contribute to dialogues about abuse within their social networks.

The purposes of the current study were to (1) describe the members of BIP participants' social networks and the ways in which they communicate about IPV with BIP participants, and (2) to describe how BIP participants address IPV with the members of their social networks, and the social network members with whom they do so. Focus groups with BIP facilitators and participants were conducted to develop inventories of abuse-relevant behaviors. One hundred and two BIP participants were surveyed to describe the members of their social networks, how the members of their social networks address the perpetration of IPV, and how BIP participants communicate about IPV to the members of their social networks. A series of multilevel models were tested to examine the characteristics of BIP participants' social networks and patterns of communication about abuse therein. An additional focus group provided interpretations of the quantitative findings.

Findings reveal that the current sample of BIP participants has social networks that are smaller than those of the general population, and which consist of their current and former partners, friends and roommates, bosses and coworkers, family of origin, children, in-laws, and others. Participants' network members engage in behaviors that convey both pro-abuse and anti-abuse attitudes to BIP participants, participants engage in indirect anti-abuse behaviors with their social network members, and participants are less satisfied with network members who engage in more pro-abuse behaviors. Primary implications of the current study include (1) the understanding of BIP participants as bystanders who actively intervene in abuse-relevant social norms in their social networks; (2) a detailed picture of how and from whom BIP participants receive support for the perpetration of IPV; and (3) the creation of two new behavioral inventories that may be used to explore patterns and effects of abuse relevant communication in greater depth.


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