Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 549–558 | Cite as

Treating Couples Who Mutually Exhibit Violence or Aggression: Reducing Behaviors that Show a Susceptibility for Violence

  • Renay P. Cleary Bradley
  • Kaeleen Drummey
  • John M. Gottman
  • Julie S. Gottman
Developing Interventions for Family Violence


This work evaluated a psycho-educational, group-based, conjoint treatment for couples experiencing intimate partner violence characterized by mutual low-level physical violence and psychological aggression. The ability of the treatment program to reduce violence between partners was evaluated via a multi-method, multi-informant, multiple time point experimental design. Procedures were completed at four times: baseline/pre-treatment, post-treatment, ~six months post-treatment, and ~12 months post-treatment. At each time point, couples individually self-reported on violence in the relationship and participated in a conflict discussion during which behaviors that show a propensity toward violence (i.e., contempt, belligerence, domineering, anger, and defensiveness) were observed. Results show that the program had no direct impact on self-reported violence. However, the program did impact observed behavior; males in the treatment group showed a significant decline in behaviors that show a propensity toward violence. Although the model for females was not significant, the pattern for females was comparable to that of males.


Intimate partner violence Intervention Conjoint treatment 



This study was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) (90OJ2022). The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ACF. We also express our gratitude to the following people who helped make this project possible: Robin Dion, Daniel Friend, Dan Yoshimoto, and all of the staff and volunteers at the Relationship Research Institute who worked on the CTAV project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renay P. Cleary Bradley
    • 1
  • Kaeleen Drummey
    • 2
  • John M. Gottman
    • 3
  • Julie S. Gottman
    • 3
  1. 1.Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability CommissionSacramentoUSA
  2. 2.Seattle Pacific UniversitySeattleWashington
  3. 3.The Gottman InstituteSeattleWashington

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