The Therapeutic Efficacy of Domestic Violence Victim Interventions

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2016 Apr;17(2):123-32. doi: 10.1177/1524838014566720. Epub 2015 Jan 22.


A meta-analysis on domestic violence interventions was conducted to determine overall effectiveness of mental health programs involving women and children in joint treatment. These interventions were further analyzed to determine whether outcomes are differentially affected based on the outcome measure employed. To date, no meta-analyses have been published on domestic violence victim intervention efficacy. The 17 investigations that met study criteria yielded findings indicating that domestic violence interventions have a large effect size (d = .812), which decreases to a medium effect size when compared to control groups (d = .518). Effect sizes were assessed to determine whether treatment differed according to the focus of the outcome measure employed: (a) external stress (behavioral problems, aggression, or alcohol use); (b) psychological adjustment (depression, anxiety, or happiness); (c) self-concept (self-esteem, perceived competence, or internal locus of control); (d) social adjustment (popularity, loneliness, or cooperativeness); (e) family relations (mother-child relations, affection, or quality of interaction); and (f) maltreatment events (reoccurrence of violence, return to partner). Results reveal that domestic violence interventions across all outcome categories yield effects in the medium to large range for both internalized and externalized symptomatology. Implications for greater awareness and support for domestic violence treatment and programming are discussed.

Keywords: battered women; children exposed to domestic violence; domestic violence; intervention/treatment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / psychology
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Social Support
  • Treatment Outcome