Method. A sub-sample of 540 court-referred men from an existing dataset was used in the study. Men were originally interviewed upon admission to the probation department and program completion data were retrieved two years after intake. Missing data were managed using the multiple imputation method. A social class variable was constructed using employment, income, marital status, and education. Using a method described by Lynch & Sabol (2000), the four variables were combined to create a dichotomous class variable. Disorder variables include measures of primitive defenses, trait anger, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, use of illegal drugs, and trauma symptoms. Age, prior arrests, family of origin violence, and ethnicity were controlled in two logistic regression models of BIP completion.
Results. Around 75% of the men completed the program. Bivariate predictors of completion were class, illegal drug use, arrests, and frequency of alcohol use. The first model we estimated included class and the control variables. Being in the overclass nearly doubled the odds of program completion (OR=1.98). Being Latino (OR=1.81) and arrest (OR=.91) also predicted completion. In the second model, we added the disorder variables. The odds ratio for class and Latino were virtually unchanged by adding the disorder variables, of which only trauma symptoms was a significant predictor of BIP completion (OR=1.04).
Discussion. Our data suggest that social class should be considered as a viable construct in research on BIP completion. These findings are consistent with a prior review of BIP completion suggesting employment predicts BIP completion, as well as with findings that social class predicts treatment completion in psychotherapy. When social class is considered, co-occurring disorders may not play as important a role in program attrition as many believe. Our data suggest that, in addition to the current focus on beliefs, attitudes, and skill-building, BIP may need to attend to the social conditions in which men live. In the end, we must face the question that is often associated with research on social class: so what? Three whats are the invisibility of social class to court and community personnel, programmatic approaches of BIP, and the malleable elements of class at the individual level, such as soft skills, education, and employment.