• Sandra M. Stith, PhD, Karen H, Rosen EdD, and Eric E. McColllllum, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Falls Church, Virginia.

  • This article was also published as chapter 8. “Domestic Violence,” in the book edited by D.H. Sprenkle (2002), Effectiveness Research in Marriage and Family Therapy (pp.223-254). Alexandria, VA: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, web site: http:www.aamft.org, phone;(703)838-9808.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Sandra M. Stith. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. human Development Department, 7054 Haycock Road, Falls Church, Virginia, 22043. E-mail: sstith@vt.edu


Despite its controversy, carefully conceptualized and delivered couples treatment appears to be at least as effective as traditional treatment for domestic violence, and preliminary data suggests that it does not place women at greater risk for injury. However, the body of research on which these conclusions rest is sparse. Only six experimental studies have been done, each using different eligibility criteria, outcome measures, and treatment approaches. Thus, further study of this modality is warranted. Marriage and family therapists have an important part to play in continuing to develop and test innovative ways of helping couples end violence and improve their relationships-an endeavor that promises to improve the quality of the partners' lives as well as those of their children.