The purpose of this study was to examine reasons why batterers drop out of batterers’ intervention programs. A qualitative design was utilized within the framework of Gove’s Prime Physical Theory, Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory and Braithwaite’s Reintegrative Shaming Theory. Data collection included interviewing a sample of 22 court mandated male batterers, who had initially dropped out of treatment and had been reinstated. Participants were from a diverse background. Results indicated five key themes that emerged from the batterers’ responses: (1) An overall lack of trust toward the legal system which greatly contributed to anger upon entering group; (2) a lack of insight/maturity in understanding the ramifications of non-compliance; (3) poor motivation/interest in attending and continuing in group; (4) difficulties reinstating back into the program once deciding to continue treatment; and (5) a sense of not belonging to the group. These findings have important clinical and policy implications. Clinically, the results suggest that decrease dropout is more likely if group facilitators directly address and assist batterers in resolving their anger in the first few sessions. Facilitators also need

to help participants develop insight into how their behavior and choices affect treatment

completion, clearly state the benefits in completing treatment, openly reward batterers for coming to group, and facilitate group cohesion among the members. Suggested policy recommendations include increased education within the judicial and law enforcement systems on how to minimize bias and deescalate anger during the arrest and legal process. This may include factors such as not treating arrestees with bias and structural changes such as calling treatment “Conflict Resolution” as opposed to “Batterers Treatment.” Other policy implications included the need to orient/educate batterers regarding legal requirements and consequences for non-compliance, and reducing barriers to the reinstatement process. Finally, as the legal system plays a major role in the stigmatization and escalation of anger of batterers, future studies should further explore needed organizational changes and the role of shaming in reducing treatment dropout. An examination of treatment dropouts who did not reinstate along with an exploration of cultural differences is also needed.


LLU Discipline

Social Policy and Social Research


Social Work


School of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Freeman, Kimberly

Second Advisor

Buckles, Beverly

Third Advisor

Morris, Teresa

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Family Violence; Wife Abuse; Child Abuse; Anger; Trust;

Subject - Local

Batterers Intervention Programs; Trust Issues; Maturity; Motivation; Sense of Belonging; Anger Management; Stigmatization



Page Count

173 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Social Policy Commons