Transforming a flawed policy: A call to revive psychology and science in domestic violence research and practice

Donald G. Dutton, Kenneth Corvo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Intimate partner violence (IPV) continues to be social problem in the United States. Unfortunately, legislation aimed at solving the problem has been based on models of IPV that are not empirically supported. One example is "psychoeducational" intervention models legislated by the courts in many states. These models eschew psychological treatment even of empirically established factors supporting habits of intimate abusiveness. They have, in effect, removed a psychology of abusiveness from intervention and replaced it with a gender political model. In contrast to this model, research from several longitudinal peer cohort studies shows that a propensity for IPV is predictable in both genders during adolescence. Yet treatment or prevention of psychological risk factors is either neglected or negatively legislated. This paper reviews the prevailing criminal justice intervention model, provides examples of how the paradigm supporting this model distorts interpretation of research and compares this flawed research with methodologically superior studies suggesting a different and potentially more effective approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-483
Number of pages27
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006


  • Criminal justice
  • Domestic violence
  • Intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Transforming a flawed policy: A call to revive psychology and science in domestic violence research and practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this