Does cognitive behavioural therapy or mindfulness-based therapy improve mental health and emotion regulation among men who perpetrate intimate partner violence? A randomised controlled trial
Intimate partner violence constitutes a serious health problem worldwide. To date the evidence is sparse on whether intimate partner violence group interventions could improve mental health outcomes among perpetrators and their partners.
To compare the effectiveness of nurse-led cognitive-behavioural group therapy vs. mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy in improving reported mental health outcomes and emotion regulation at 12 months’ follow-up amongst perpetrators who voluntarily seek help for violence in intimate partnerships.
A randomised controlled trial.
A total of 125 persons at an outpatient service run by a University Hospital in Norway for men who perpetrate intimate partner violence were enroled in the study.
The participants were randomly assigned to cognitive-behavioural group therapy (intervention group, N = 67) or mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy (comparator group, N = 58). The pre-defined outcomes were symptoms of anxiety and depression as reported by the Hopkins Symptom Checklist 25 and general emotion regulation as reported by Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale at 12 months’ follow-up.
A reduction of symptoms of anxiety and depression was reported, with no between-group differences (intervention group: coefficient: − 0.17, P = 0.009; comparator group: coefficient: − 0.13, P = 0.036). Both groups had a small but statistically significant reduction in the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale scores at 12 months’ follow-up (intervention group: coefficient: − 0.47, P = <0.001; comparator group: coefficient: − 0. 34, P = <0.001).
Even though there was reduction in symptoms in both groups at 12 months’ follow-up with no between-group differences, the total symptom scores remained high in both groups.