Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Victoria Orrego Dunleavy

Second Committee Member

Glendene Lemard

Third Committee Member

Darlene Drummond

Fourth Committee Member

Thomas Steinfatt


Cognitive behavioral violence prevention (CB-VP) parenting groups are commonly used for the primary and secondary prevention of violence. These groups use persuasive messages that target violence-related attitudes and cognitions, with the expectation that this will result in behavior change. Despite their frequent use as family violence prevention strategies, little is known about the actual messages being exchanged in CB-VP groups and how participants perceive and recall these messages. This study analyzes messages aimed at changing behaviors as recalled by Hispanic participants in federally funded Fatherhood groups in Miami, Florida. Applying concepts from violence prevention, behavior change messages were classified by topic, type of behavior targeted, compliance gaining strategies (Marwell & Schmitt, 1967), and sources of influence Wheeless, Baraclough & Stewart, 1983). The most common topics reported by participants included parenting role, discipline, communication content and spending time with children. Over a third of the appeals targeted behaviors that were not observable actions, but rather cognitive acts such as thinking, reflecting, and paying attention. Reward and punishment were the most frequently used compliance gaining strategies, followed by moral and expertise strategies. Most appeals were based on the expected outcomes of the proposed behaviors as the main source of influence. The results of this study provide a greater understanding of the motivations used to support behavior change messages in violence prevention parenting groups.


Behavior Change; Cognitive Beahvioral Violence Prevention Groups; Family Violence; Compliance Gaining Appeals; Sources Of Influence; Fatherhood