The Impact of Couple Therapy for Abusive Behavior on Partners' Negative Attributions about Each Other, Relationship Satisfaction, Communication Behavior, and Psychological Abuse
Hrapczynski, Katie Marie
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Treatments for abusive behavior commonly include cognitive restructuring to modify negative attributions. Little is known about the extent to which interventions modify attributions, and whether cognitive changes are associated with behavioral and relationship satisfaction change. This study investigated the degrees to which cognitive-behavioral couple therapy (CBCT) and a usual treatment (UT) result in therapeutic changes in couples experiencing psychological and/or mild to moderate levels of physical abuse. A sample of community couples seeking assistance for relationship problems at a university-based clinic were randomly assigned to CBCT or UT. Twenty-four couples in CBCT and 26 couples in UT completed 10 weekly 90-minute sessions. This study involved analyses of pre- and post-therapy measures of psychological abuse, relationship satisfaction, communication, and negative attributions. Findings indicated that both conditions decreased psychological abuse and negative attributions, and increased relationship satisfaction. CBCT decreased negative communication. Couples therapy is an effective treatment modality for this specialized population.