Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The primary purpose of this research was to investigate any catalysts to changes in self-concept that may have occurred among thirteen men who had been labeled as batterers by the courts and who were about to graduate from the Project to End Abuse through Counseling and Education (PEACE), a court-mandated batterers' intervention program, in Nashville, Tennessee. It is deemed necessary for a batterer to first recognize himself as such before he is able to stop battering. The second purpose of this research was to document the men's attitudes about PEACE and how it affected them. Within the framework of symbolic interactionism the change process and the redefining of the men's self-identity due to internal and external pressures were examined. The men's catalysts were instrumental in changing their self-concept from entitled controller to batterer because of events that occurred during the labeling process. A model of events depicts experiences that most of the men endured during their labeling process, which includes being arrested for assault against their partners, going to jail, attending the court hearing, and being sentenced to at least 26 weeks of PEACE. Each event that occurred in the model of events was a primary or secondary catalyst to at least one of the men. A primary catalyst is designated as one recognized by the respondent multiple times during the interview; a secondary catalyst is one recognized only once. Most of the men mentioned more than one event, which indicates that a series of events or a process caused the redefinition of their self-concept. The most common primary catalysts were violent battering incidents and the PEACE program. The most common secondary catalysts were the violent incidents, arrest, jail, court, returning home and to work.


Social Work | Sociology