This Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21) will expand our promising data on Fathers for Change (F4C), a novel intervention for fathers with histories of perpetrating intimate partner violence (IPV), by comparing it to a Batterer Intervention Program (BIP). F4C is designed to meet a significant unmet intervention need for fathers who have a history of family violence who are not helped by currently available batterer intervention programs (BIPs). BIPs that are currently available nationally have shown limited efficacy with high rates of repeat violence. F4C is an individual treatment that addresses two significant co-occurring issues: Intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM), which are significant public health concerns with tremendous impact on the health and functioning of victims and child witnesses. The intervention uses men's roles as fathers to engage them in reflective functioning and emotion regulation work to change their behaviors. This project will provide needed data to further develop F4C and move to a Stage II efficacy trial by: 1) revising the BIP group intervention manual to be delivered in an individual treatment format to allow comparison with F4C; 2) develop a fidelity measure for F4C and the BIP; 3) conduct a stage 1b randomized trial (consistent with the stage model of intervention development) to show feasibility, acceptability and intervention signal with the targeted population. Sixty fathers with a history of IPV who are involved with and referred by child protective services will be randomly assigned to F4C or an individually delivered comparable dose of BIP. Reflective functioning and emotion regulation will be examined as the mechanisms through which Fathers for Change reduces IPV and CM risk behaviors. These data and completed materials will then support a larger randomized efficacy trial of F4C compared to BIP resulting in an evidenced based intervention for treatment resistant IPV and CM that can be delivered in outpatient clinics nationally.
/ RELEVANCE Intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM) commonly co-occur and represent significant and preventable public health issues impacting millions of families each year in the United States. This pilot randomized trial will provide initial data to support the further development of Fathers for Change, an integrated fatherhood focused approach to IPV and CM that can be delivered in outpatient treatment settings. An integrated approach that can reduce IPV and CM in one model that is easily exportable to outpatient facilities will improve physical and mental health outcomes for fathers, mothers and children.