DIRECTION OF PARTNER PSYCHOLOGICAL AGGRESSION AND OUTCOMES OF COUPLE THERAPY: MODERATING EFFECTS OF CLIENTS' PERCEPTIONS OF THERAPEUTIC GAINS
Childers, Morgan Anne
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Research has consistently found that contrary to longstanding beliefs, partner aggression, both in psychological and physical forms, is primarily perpetrated bidirectionally. This study compared conjoint therapy treatment outcomes (dyadic satisfaction, changes in communication patterns, and reductions in physical aggression) for bidirectionally psychologically aggressive couples and couples in which only one partner primarily perpetrated psychological aggression. In addition, the clients' perceptions of therapy were measured continuously over the course of therapy; this factor was examined as a moderator variable. A MANOVA was run on the sample of 64 heterosexual couples, but no significant main effects were found. However, this study and past research on this sample show that these couples did improve on outcome measures. This suggests that regardless of the pattern of aggression perpetration, psychologically aggressive couples may benefit from conjoint therapy. Additionally, post hoc exploratory analyses found significant correlations between reductions in aggression and changes in negative communication patterns.