Evaluating a Group Program for Women Victims of Intimate Partner Abuse
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Despite the established utility of 12-week dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) group program for women victims of intimate partner abuse (IPA), the dropout rate between initial contact and program completion has been as high as 70%. To establish better treatment engagement and retention, and thus to help more women, a two-day DBT group program, or "workshop" with a similar curriculum was developed. Results for 72 women showed that the 2-day workshop resulted in significantly higher attendance and completion rate than the 12-week standard group treatment program. From pre-treatment to 3 months follow-up, participants (N = 37 who completed the follow-up assessment) reported significant improvements across a range of outcome and process variables, including general distress, depression, hopelessness, PTSD severity, self-compassion, self-efficacy, positive affect, negative affect, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, shame, mindfulness, and use of DBT skills. Results also showed that improved self-validation, emotion regulation, DBT skill use, mindfulness, and decreased emotional arousal were associated with most outcome variables (i.e., social adjustment, depression, general distress, hopelessness, PTSD severity, and effective skill use). In addition, participants reported high satisfaction with the intervention. These findings support the utility of the program's effectiveness in increasing treatment engagement and enhancing psychological well-being of women victims of IPA. Suggestions for future research are discussed.