Legal factors associated with change in alcohol use and partner violence among offenders
Cory A. Crane, Robert C. Schlauch, Samuel W. Hawes, Dolores L. Mandel, Caroline J. Easton
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
13 April 2014
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a pervasive social concern that may be exacerbated by high rates of alcohol dependence among perpetrators. Society has attempted to combat IPV through various legal interventions, but the effects of specific legal factors on behavioral change and treatment compliance remain largely unexamined. The primary focus of the current study was to comprehensively evaluate the impact of various legal factors (i.e., judicial mandate, judicial monitoring, stage of change, and stake in conformity) on mandatory treatment compliance and behavioral change over a 12 week post-adjudication period among a high-risk sample of alcohol dependent IPV offenders (N = 60). Growth curve analyses revealed effects of judicial monitoring and stage of change such that participants reporting low perceived judicial monitoring and early stages of change reported higher initial levels and a more rapid reduction in IPV than those reporting high perceived judicial monitoring and late stages of change, who reported consistently low IPV. Although we found that legal factors were poor predictors of treatment compliance and alcohol use during treatment, the association between alcohol and IPV was moderated by the legal factors. Stake in conformity was negatively associated with IPV among low alcohol users and positively associated among high alcohol users whereas stage of change was negatively associated with IPV among high alcohol users. The current results suggest that pretreatment legal factors may represent an important consideration in reducing IPV among alcohol dependent offenders. Further research is required to determine the efficacy of legal factors in isolation of treatment as well as methods of manipulating these factors to optimally compliment a prescribed course of treatment.