Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 671–680 | Cite as

Moderators of Response to Motivational Interviewing for Partner-violent Men

  • Christopher M. Murphy
  • Erin L. Linehan
  • Jacqueline C. Reyner
  • Peter H. Musser
  • Casey T. Taft


Careful attention to motivation for change may enhance the effects of interventions for partner-violent men. The present study tested predictions about differential response to a two-session motivational intake (MI) for partner-violent men, which was compared to a structured intake (SI) control. For those who were initially reluctant to change, MI produced greater forward movement in stage of change. For those who claimed to have already solved their problems with partner abuse, MI produced greater backward movement in stage of change and greater homework compliance in subsequent group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). MI led to a stronger collaborative working alliance for those high in contemplation of change, and greater group session attendance for those with high trait anger. Contrary to hypotheses, analyses of post-CBT partner assault revealed a differentially greater benefit of MI for participants with lower levels of pretreatment contemplation and trait anger. The findings provide qualified support for the expectation that MI has the greatest beneficial effects on those who appear initially reluctant to change.


Intimate partner violence Perpetrators Treatment Motivational interviewing Stages of change 



This project was supported by grants from the Directed Research Initiative Fund of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the National Institute of Mental Health (1RO3MH56373) to the first author and an Individual National Research Service Award to the fifth author from the National Institute of Mental Health (1F31MH12234). The authors gratefully acknowledge the therapists who conducted motivational interviewing and CBT groups during the period of this investigation and the generous support of the agency staff at the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, MD.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher M. Murphy
    • 1
  • Erin L. Linehan
    • 1
  • Jacqueline C. Reyner
    • 1
  • Peter H. Musser
    • 1
  • Casey T. Taft
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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