Fatherhood status as a predictor of intimate partner violence (IPV) treatment engagement.

Objective: Research suggests that many partner abusive men continue in their parenting role within the context of intimate partner violence (IPV) and that some men report an awareness of the negative effects such conflict may have on their children. Further, qualitative research indicates that partner abusive men value their roles as fathers. Therefore, focusing on men’s fathering roles may facilitate increased motivation to change partner abusive behaviors. The current study examined whether fatherhood status served as a predictor of successful IPV treatment engagement. Method: The study was conducted with a sample of men (n = 210) seeking treatment at an abuser intervention program located in a suburb of Maryland. Results: Findings revealed that relative to nonfathers, fathers were more likely to attend their scheduled intake appointment following attendance to the initial orientation session, complete court-mandated treatment requirements, and self-report higher cognitive and behavioral processes of change toward the end of treatment. Likewise, late in treatment clinicians rated fathers somewhat higher on working alliance compared to nonfathers. Conclusions: The current study is the first we are aware of to provide quantitative evidence suggesting that fatherhood is predictive of treatment engagement in a predominantly court-mandated sample of men presenting to IPV treatment. These findings suggest that IPV programing discuss men’s roles as fathers as part of motivational enhancement at the outset of treatment and assess problems related to parenting and coparenting. Additionally, fathers may benefit from IPV programing which offers psychoeducation and parent skills training early in treatment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)