An evaluation of a family group therapy program for domestically violent adolescents
AuthorRybski, Nancy Carole, 1958-
Sociology, Criminology and Penology.
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractYouth-perpetrated domestic violence is one type of family violence that has lacked rigorous investigation (Paulson, Coombs, & Landsverk, 1990). Although recognized as a social problem for approximately 40 years, scant attention has been devoted to treating this problem. Only recently have researchers begun to explore the characteristics and dynamics within youth-instigated parent abuse (Livingston, 1986; Lystad, 1986; Monahan, 1981). This project seeks to add to the font of knowledge of youth-to-parent domestic violence. Social learning, stress, and family systems theories were used to form an integrative framework which identified individual and family deficiencies in anger management, stress reduction, and communication skills. This program modified and condensed Neidig and Friedman's (1984) couples conflict containment program into a family-focused treatment regimen of four, two-hour weekly group sessions, with family interview sessions pre- and post-treatment. The three areas of deficiencies were addressed within treatment. Specifically, this research evaluated the effectiveness of a family therapy group program for domestically violent adolescents and their single mothers. Conditions anticipated to change as a function of treatment were measured at intake and again at program closure. The outcome variables were measured by self-report scales on the youths' and parents' psychological and physical acts of abuse, and the youths' and parents' self-reported anger. The clinician completed a measure assessing the youths' psychosocial and emotional functioning pre- and post-treatment, also. Simple factorial analyses of variance reflected significant reduction in youth physical abuse, youth psychological abuse, parent physical abuse, parent psychological abuse, and youth multidimensional functioning scores for the treatment groups, as compared to the waiting list control group. Overall, this program demonstrated modest levels of effectiveness. It was successful in reducing psychological and physical violence for both parents and youth, and in improving the youths' psychosocial and emotional functioning. It did not, however, reduce anger for either youth or parent. These findings suggest that while anger may still be an issue for these families, acting it out in violence against one's family member can be deterred by teaching alternative methods of anger expression and stress management, and intrafamily communication.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
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