ADVANCE integrated group intervention to address both substance use and intimate partner abuse perpetration by men in substance use treatment: a feasibility randomised controlled trial

Gail Gilchrist*, Laura Potts, Polly Radcliffe, Gemma Halliwell, Sandi Dheensa, Juliet Henderson, Amy Johnson, Beverly Love, Elizabeth Gilchrist, Gene Feder, Steve Parrott, Jinshuo Li, Mary McMurran, Sara Kirkpatrick, Danielle Stephens-Lewis, Caroline Easton, Cassandra Berbary, Sabine Landau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Substance use is a risk factor for intimate partner abuse (IPA) perpetration. Delivering perpetrator interventions concurrently with substance use treatment shows promise.


The feasibility of conducting an efficacy and cost-effectiveness trial of the ADVANCE 16-week intervention to reduce IPA by men in substance use treatment was explored. A multicentre, parallel group individually randomised controlled feasibility trial and formative evaluation was conducted. Over three temporal cycles, 104 men who had perpetrated IPA towards a female (ex) partner in the past year were randomly allocated to receive the ADVANCE intervention + substance use treatment as usual (TAU) (n = 54) or TAU only (n = 50) and assessed 16-weeks post-randomisation. Participants’ (ex) partners were offered support and 27 provided outcome data. Thirty-one staff and 12 men who attended the intervention participated in focus groups or interviews that were analysed using the framework approach. Pre-specified criteria assessed the feasibility of progression to a definitive trial: 1) ≥ 60% of eligible male participants recruited; 2) intervention acceptable to staff and male participants; 3) ≥ 70% of participants followed-up and 4) levels of substance use and 5) IPA perpetrated by men in the intervention arm did not increase from average baseline level at 16-weeks post-randomisation.


70.7% (104/147) of eligible men were recruited. The formative evaluation confirmed the intervention’s acceptability. Therapeutic alliance and session satisfaction were rated highly. The overall median rate of intervention session attendance (of 14 compulsory sessions) was 28.6% (range 14.3–64.3% by the third cycle). 49.0% (51/104) of men and 63.0% (17/27) of their (ex) partners were followed-up 16-weeks post-randomisation. This increased to 100% of men and women by cycle three. At follow-up, neither substance use nor IPA perpetration had worsened for men in the intervention arm.


It was feasible to deliver the ADVANCE intervention in substance use treatment services, although it proved difficult to collect data from female (ex)partners. While some progression criteria were met, others were not, although improvements were demonstrated by the third cycle. Lessons learned will be implemented into the study design for a definitive trial of the ADVANCE intervention.

Trial registration

ISRCTN79435190 prospectively registered 22nd May 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number980 (2021)
Number of pages20
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This manuscript summarises independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research programme (RP-PG-1214-20009). The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Funding Information:
The named authors submit this publication on behalf of all the ADVANCE research programme investigators including Professor David Gadd, University of Manchester; Professor Sir John Strang and Professor Louise M Howard, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King?s College London. We are grateful to the substance use treatment services, the integrated support services, and the men and women who have participated in the trial. We would like to thank Natalie Lowry, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King?s College London and the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network for assistance with data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence/prevention & control
  • Male
  • Substance-Related Disorders/therapy


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