Risk-Factors for Later Reassaults by Court-Referred Batterer Program Participants

Edward W. Gondolf, Mid - Atlantic Addiction Training Inst.

Research on batterer program participants has attempted to identify risk factors for reassault in order to develop appropriate treatment, containment, and surveillance. Nearly all of these efforts have focused on reassault within a year or so of program intake. The de-escalating trend of reassaults suggests, however, that this early reassault may be an extension of a previous unchecked pattern (e.g., previous abuse and criminality) and that later reassaults may be associated with situational changes (e.g., relationshp status, employment). A four-year follow-up with the victims of batterer program participants from four cities (n=618 with a 60% response rate) was used to identify risk factors for later reassaults (16-48 months) and earlier reassaults (0-15 months). Demographic, personality, prior behavior, and mediating situational variables were analyzed with logistic regressions for reassault in the respective time frames. The predictive power of the regressions is very weak, but previous severe assault, other prior arrests and severe psychopathology are associated with early reassault; and partner contact, continued severe assault, and program attendance are associated with later reassault. The inconsistent risk factors raise caution about the stability and measurement of risk factors, and suggest that later reassault may be more situationally based. Prevention of later reassault may require different interventions than prevention of earlier reassault.

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Updated 05/20/2006