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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 394; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040394

Improvements in Empathy and Cognitive Flexibility after Court-Mandated Intervention Program in Intimate Partner Violence Perpetrators: The Role of Alcohol Abuse

1
Department of Psychobiology, University of Valencia, Valencia 46010, Spain
2
Department of Social Psychology, University of Valencia, Valencia 46010, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Icro Maremmani
Received: 6 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treating Alcoholism between Harm Reduction and Immediate Abstinence)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [306 KB, uploaded 31 March 2016]

Abstract

Research assessing the effectiveness of intervention programs for intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators has increased considerably in recent years. However, most of it has been focused on the analysis of psychological domains, neglecting neuropsychological variables and the effects of alcohol consumption on these variables. This study evaluated potential neuropsychological changes (emotional decoding, perspective taking, emotional empathy and cognitive flexibility) and their relationship with alcohol consumption in a mandatory intervention program for IPV perpetrators, as well as how these variables affect the risk of IPV recidivism. The sample was composed of 116 individuals with high alcohol (n = 55; HA) and low alcohol (n = 61; LA) consumption according to self-report screening measures who received treatment in a IPV perpetrator intervention program developed in Valencia (Spain). IPV perpetrators with HA consumption were less accurate in decoding emotional facial signals and adopting others’ perspective, and less cognitively flexible than those with LA consumption before the IPV intervention. Further, the effectiveness of the intervention program was demonstrated, with increases being observed in cognitive empathy (emotional decoding and perspective taking) and in cognitive flexibility. Nevertheless, the HA group showed a smaller improvement in these skills and higher risk of IPV recidivism than the LA group. Moreover, improvement in these skills was related to a lower risk of IPV recidivism. The study provides guidance on the targeting of cognitive domains, which are key factors for reducing IPV recidivism. View Full-Text
Keywords: cognitive flexibility; empathy; emotion decoding; intervention programs; intimate partner violence cognitive flexibility; empathy; emotion decoding; intervention programs; intimate partner violence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Romero-Martínez, Á.; Lila, M.; Martínez, M.; Pedrón-Rico, V.; Moya-Albiol, L. Improvements in Empathy and Cognitive Flexibility after Court-Mandated Intervention Program in Intimate Partner Violence Perpetrators: The Role of Alcohol Abuse. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 394.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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