The Effectiveness of Domestic Violence-Focused Couples Treatment on Marital Violence, Mental Health, and Sexual Intimacy of Couples with Marital Maladjustment

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Counseling, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran.

3 Department of Psychology, Dezful Branch, Islamic Azad University, Dezful, Iran


Introduction: The present study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of Domestic Violence-Focused Couples’ Treatment (DVFCT) on marital violence, mental health, and sexual intimacy of couples with marital maladjustment.
Method: A single-case non-concurrent multiple-baseline design was adopted. The statistical population comprised all volunteering couples with marital maladjustment visiting counseling centers in Ahvaz (Iran) in 2021. After screening, two eligible couples (4 people) were purposively selected. The therapy protocol was administered to all the participants in two phases (18 intervention sessions) and four stages (baseline, intervention, a 45-day first follow-up, and a three-month second follow-up.) The participants were assessed before the therapy, on sessions 4, 8, 12, 16, and 18, and on the 45-day and 3-month follow-up. The Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, Couples' Sexual Intimacy Questionnaire, and the Violence against Women Questionnaire were used to collect data. The data were analyzed visually using the reliable change index and the improvement percentage formula.
Results: The DVFCT significantly improved mental health and sexual intimacy and reduced marital violence, an effect that persisted through the follow-up stages (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: The present study achieved promising results concerning the applicability of DVFCT. This therapy can thus mitigate couples’ marital violence and promote their mental health and sexual intimacy.


  1. References

    1. D'Onofrio B, Emery R. Parental divorce or separation and children's mental health. World Psychiatry. 2019;18(1):100-1.
    2. Pirmoradi S, Amini N, Keykhosrovani M, Shafiabadi A. The Effectiveness of Couple Therapy Based on the Choice Theory on Marital Commitment and Burnout in Couples with Marital Conflicts. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2022;16(1):43-8.
    3. Patra P, Prakash J, Patra B, Khanna P. Intimate partner violence: Wounds are deeper. Indian J Psychiatry. 2018;60(4):494-8.
    4. Oguntayo R, Oyeleke JT, John-Oguntayo O, Aajayi-Hutchful FA. Personality Traits, Emotional Intelligence, Socio-contextual Factors and Spousal Violence: The Trajectory of COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2020;14(2):101-7.
    5. Rai TS, Valdesolo P, Graham J. Dehumanization increases instrumental violence, but not moral violence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2017;114(32):8511-6.
    6. Zarei M, Rasolabadi M, Gharibi F, Seidi J. The prevalence of violence against women and some related factors in Sanandaj city (Iran) in 2015. Electron Physician. 2017;9(11):5746-53.
    7. Aktas B, Baysal HY, Yilmaz M. Marital Adjustment of Women Living in Two Different Provinces of Turkey and their Attitudes towards Violence against Women. International Archives of Nursing and Health Care. 2018;4(1):100-5.
    8. Sharma KK, Vatsa M, Kalaivani M, Bhardwaj D. Mental health effects of domestic violence against women in Delhi: A community-based study. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. 2019;8(7).
    9. Pourseyyed Mohammad M, Naderi F, Ehteshamzadeh P, Asgari P. Association of Spiritual Well-Being and Parental Acceptance with Child Behavioral Disorders through the Mediation of Life Satisfaction in Mothers of Children with Hearing Impairment. Preventive Care in Nursing and Midwifery Journal. 2021;11(1):35-45.
    10. Sesar K, Dodaj A, Šimić N. Mental health of perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Mental Health Review Journal. 2018;23:221-39.
    11. Liu M, Xue J, Zhao N, Wang X, Jiao D, Zhu T. Using Social Media to Explore the Consequences of Domestic Violence on Mental Health. J Interpers Violence. 2021;36(3-4):Np1965-85np.
    12. Hejazi SS, Jalal Marvi F, Nikbakht S, Akaberi A, Kamali A, Ghaderi M. Relationship between the Family of Origin Health and Marital Satisfaction among Women in Bentolhoda Hospital of Bojnurd: A Study in the North East of Iran. Preventive Care in Nursing and Midwifery Journal. 2021;11(4):46-54.
    13. Choi SY, Kim HR, Myong JP. The Mediating Effects of Marital Intimacy and Work Satisfaction in the Relationship between Husbands' Domestic Labor and Depressive Mood of Married Working Women. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(12).
    14. Zakhirehdari N, Navabinejad S, Koraei A. Comparison of the Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral and Emotion- Focused Couple Therapies on Marital Intimacy of Couples. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2019;13(3):111-7.
    15. Moon KJ, Chung ML, Hwang SY. The Perceived Marital Intimacy of Spouses Directly Influences the Rehabilitation Motivation of Hospitalized Stroke Survivors. Clinical Nursing Research. 2020;30(4):502-10.
    16. Mousavi Haghighi SE, Pooladi Rishehri A, Mousavi SA. Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Integrated Behavioral Couples Therapy on Intimacy and Family Functioning in Divorce-seeking Couples. JRH. 2022;12(3):167-76.
    17. Stith SM, McCollum EE, KH. R. Couples therapy for domestic violence: Finding safe solutions.: American Psychological Association.; 2011.
    18. Stith SM, Spencer CM, Ripoll-Núñez KJ, Jaramillo-Sierra AL, Khodadadi-Andariyeh F, Nikparvar F, et al. International Adaptation of a Treatment Program for Situational Couple Violence. J Marital Fam Ther. 2020;46(2):272-88.
    19. Stith SM, McCollum EE, Amanor-Boadu Y, Smith D. Systemic perspectives on intimate partner violence treatment. J Marital Fam Ther. 2012;38(1):220-40.
    20. Mengo C, Small E, Black B. Intimate Partner Violence and Women's Mental Health: The Mediating Role of Coping Strategies Among Women Seeking Help From the Police. J Interpers Violence. 2021;36(1-2):527-51.
    21. Aslani K, khodadadi andarie f, Amanelahi A, Rajabi G, Stith S. The effectiveness of domestic violence–focused couple therapy on violence against women: Intervention in maladjusted couple relationships living in Ahvaz. Family Counseling and Psychotherapy. 2020;9(2):213-32.
    22. Vazirnia F, Karimi J, Goodarzi K, Sadeghi M. Effects of Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy on Infertility Self-efficacy, Dyadic Adjustment, and Sexual Satisfaction in Infertile Couples. Journal of Client-centered Nursing Care. 2021;7(1):43-54.
    23. Derogatis LR. SCL-90-R: Administration, Scoring of Procedures Manual-II for the R (revised) Version and Other Instruments of the Psychopathology Rating Scale Series: Clinical Psychometric Research Incorporated.1992.
    24. Akhavan Abiri F, Shairi MR. Validity and Reliability of Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) and Brief Symptom Inventory-53 (BSI-53). Clinical Psychology and Personality. 2020;17(2):169-95.
    25. Botlani S, Ahmadi A, Bahrami F, Shahsiah M, S. M. Effect of attachment-based couple therapy on sexual satisfaction and intimacy. Journal of Fundamentals of Mental Health. 2010;12(46):496-505.
    26. Haj-Yahi MM. Wife abuse and its psychological consequences as revealed by the first Palestinian National Survey on Violence Against Women. Journal of Family Psychology.13(4):642–62.
    27. Sotoodeh Ghorbani S, Ghaffari M, Hashemi Nazari SS. Psychometric properties of Haj-Yahia's questionnaire of violence against women in a sample of married women in Tehran, Iran. BMC Public Health. 2022;22(1):448.
    28. Stith SM, Rosen KH, McCollum EE, Thomsen CJ. Treating intimate partner violence within intact couple relationships: outcomes of multi-couple versus individual couple therapy. J Marital Fam Ther. 2004;30(3):305-18.