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Role of offender perception in treatment outcome

Andrea M. Sevene (College of Liberal Arts, Rochester, New York, USA)
John E. Edlund (Department of Psychology, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, USA)
Caroline J. Easton (Department of Biomedical Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, USA)

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Article publication date: 15 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to address a possible interaction of cognitive distortions associated with substance dependency and intimate partner violence (IPV), and the effects on subsequent behavior. The primary focus was to investigate the relationship between offender perception (i.e. perception of family problems (FP) and perception of need for treatment for family problems (FPTx)) and treatment outcome (i.e. substance use and violence), among a unique sample of substance dependent male offenders of IPV. An additional investigation included the change in perception from baseline to the end of treatment.


In total, 63 participants were randomly assigned to one of two treatment conditions and assessed across 12 weeks of treatment.


Participants in the (FP+) (i.e. those who perceived family problems at baseline) and (FPTx+) (i.e. those who perceived a need for treatment for family problems at baseline) conditions reported a significantly greater change in the number of days of violence from baseline to the end of treatment, compared to participants in the (FP−) (i.e. those who did not perceive family problems at baseline) and (FPTx−) (i.e. participants who perceived no need for treatment at baseline) conditions. (FP+) and (FPTx+) participants had significant decreases in any violent behavior from pre- to post-treatment.


The results of this study highlight the importance of techniques aimed at improving clients’ ability to recognize and admit to problem behaviors, a critical component of cognitive-behavioral therapy, in an effort to increase their motivation for treatment, thus leading to greater treatment success.



This work was supported by Grants RO1 DA018284-01 A1, P50-DA0924, and K12 DA00167-11 awarded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors acknowledge the contributions of the staff at the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit, Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic and the Law and Psychiatry Division of Yale as well as all the subjects who participated in the study.


Sevene, A.M., Edlund, J.E. and Easton, C.J. (2017), "Role of offender perception in treatment outcome", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 83-94.



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