Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 131–149

Predicting Attrition From Treatment Programs for Abusive Men

  • Jennifer Rooney
  • R. Karl Hanson

DOI: 10.1023/A:1011106902465

Cite this article as:
Rooney, J. & Hanson, R.K. Journal of Family Violence (2001) 16: 131. doi:10.1023/A:1011106902465


Attrition in male battering treatment programs is a serious problem. To keep clients in treatment, it is crucial to understand why they drop out. The current study examined the contribution of both client and program characteristics in predicting dropout from treatment programs for abusive men. Data were collected at intake from 306 abusive men who sought treatment at four different sites. The rate of preprogram attrition (from intake to the first treatment session) was higher in the program that had a lengthy waiting list (46%) than in the other programs amp lpar3%-13%). In-program attrition was more highly related to client characteristics than program characteristics (all programs had rates between 36% and 42%). Those men who dropped out after starting treatment tended to have unstable lifestyles (e.g., substance abuse problems, criminal history, unemployment) and to have inflicted more severe abuse than those who completed treatment. Results also supported a significant interaction between verbal aptitude and structure of program; men with low verbal aptitude were the most likely to drop out of an unstructured program. Possible strategies for preventing attrition are discussed.

abusive men male batterers attrition dropout treatment 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Rooney
    • 1
  • R. Karl Hanson
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of GuelphCanada

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