Date of Degree

9-2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Peggilee Wupperman

Committee Members

Veronica Johnson

Elizabeth Jeglic

Jennifer Loveland

Kathleen Grubbs

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology

Keywords

aggression, domestic violence, mindfulness, treatment, intervention, violence

Abstract

Physical aggression incurs substantial harm to victims and witnesses, particularly when it occurs within close relationships such as family, friendships, or intimate partnerships. Men who use aggression against partners and other adults frequently experience high levels of psychopathology, including depression, posttraumatic stress symptoms, anxious/insecure attachment, paranoia, bipolar disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, personality disorders, and substance abuse, which contribute to use of aggressive behaviors. However, existing treatments for aggression often do not address these symptoms. It is important that treatments for aggression are grounded in theoretical literature and backed by empirical support in order to increase treatment engagement and effectiveness. Treatments that increase mindfulness along with cognitive and emotional coping skills have received preliminary support in improving the symptoms that men who use aggression often experience. At this early stage in the literature, it is important to evaluate options for treatment with men who use aggression for utility and feasibility. One treatment that has initial support for treating aggressive behavior is Mindfulness and Modification Therapy (MMT). This pilot trial investigated MMT’s preliminary feasibility with 6 men referred for aggression from in an alternative-to-incarceration program. Results of the first weeks of treatment suggested very preliminary feasibility of MMT with men who are court-referred for aggression through evaluation of homework completion, clients’ reports of satisfaction and progress, and therapeutic alliance. This study provides foundation for further trials of MMT with men being treated for aggression.

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