Domestic Violence and Recidivism: Does Stake in Conformity Matter?

Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Dianne Carmody

Committee Member

Kimberly Martin

Committee Member

Ruth Triplett

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 O47 2010


Domestic violence is a pervasive problem throughout society and has been in existence since the beginning of interpersonal relationships. There have been changes in how the academic community, law enforcement, and the general public respond to this problem in the last thirty years. Punishments have become more punitive and mandatory arrest policies have been instituted. Mandatory arrest for domestic violence batterers has increased the number of batterers that are involved with the criminal justice system. In response to this increase, diversion to batterer treatment and other community based programs has taken the place of jail time for many offenders. This thesis explores the relationship between the stake in conformity of individuals in the Hampton-Newport News Community Corrections Department and recidivism. It attempts to determine whether or not stake in conformity positively or negatively affects the chances of recidivism.

A sample of 119 probationers was taken from the records of Hampton-Newport-News Community Corrections Department for the fiscal year 2004. These probationers were remanded to community corrections after having been arrested for misdemeanor assault against a family or household member. Each offender was required to attend either a batterer intervention program or another community program. Stake in conformity factors were analyzed in relation to recidivism data to determine if a relationship existed using both T-tests of means and binary logistic regression.

Age, education, and prior domestic violence charges were all shown to be significant predictors of re-arrest. Prior domestic violence charges had the most significant effect and overshadowed all other effects. Results indicate the need for a larger sample and generalizability is limited but this thesis does show a need for more research on the effects of stakes in conformity, batterer intervention programs, and recidivism.


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