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Indiana University Bloomington

Amy  Holtzworth-Munroe

Dr. Amy Holtzworth-Munroe


Director of Graduate Studies


holtzwor [at]

office: PY 148 | (812)855-8159

lab: Family Relationships Lab
PY A224 | (812)855-7895


Marital violence, divorce mediation, other interventions with high conflict divorcing parents, and studies of the effectiveness of such programs

Educational Background

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Washington, 1988
M.S., Clinical Psychology, University of Washington, 1984
B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Human Biology, Brown University, 1981

Areas of Study

  • Clinical Science

Research Topics

  • Intimate partner violence (particularly husband to wife violence)
  • Interventions for separating or divorcing couples
  • Relationship distress and therapy

Research Interests

My research focuses on adult, intimate relationship problems.

In my main line of work, we have studied intimate partner violence (IPV), with a focus on husband to wife violence. In one set of studies, we applied a social information processing model to the problem of marital violence, conducting a series of studies to pinpoint the social skills deficits of violent husbands. For example, relative to nonviolent husbands, violent husbands tend to assume that their wives are acting with hostile intent (e.g., "she purposefully did that to make me angry") and to generate incompetent responses to marital conflict situations (i.e., responding in ways likely to escalate the argument and increase the risk of physical aggression). In another study, we identified subtypes of violent husbands (4 subtypes: family only, low level antisocial, dysphoric/borderline, and generally violent/antisocial).

These subgroups differed on distal/historical correlates of violence (e.g., childhood home environment, family of origin violence, and association with deviant peers) and proximal correlates of violence (e.g., attachment and jealousy, impulsivity, social skills in marital and nonmarital situations, and attitudes towards women and violence) that are theoretically related to the etiology of differing types of violence. In a longitudinal component of the study, we found that the identified subtypes continued to differ, in the predicted manner, across a three year period. We are continuing to do research, in collaboration with others, on IPV. For example, working with Jack Bates (in our department), we have been examining childhood and adolescent predictors of adult IPV.

More recently, I have been developing a second line of research. Working with Drs. Brian D"Onofrio and Jack Bates (in the clinical science program in our department) and Amy Applegate (faculty at the IU Law School), we have begun a research program on interventions to help divorcing couples.

The goal of such interventions is to help couples make the transition from being spouses to being co-parents, in a manner (e.g., decreased conflict, good parenting) that minimizes the risk of negative outcomes for their children. This work involves an interdisciplinary research team and we are piloting a series of studies, including screening for IPV among couples seeking divorce mediation, adding components to divorce mediation to increase its efficacy, and testing other programs for divorcing couples.

Related to my research interests, I teach graduate level therapy practicum courses on couples therapy and interventions for divorcing couples. I teach seminars on family violence and relationship distress and therapy. I also teach our clinical science required course on clinical interventions.

Representative Publications

Journal Articles

    Ballard, R.H., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Applegate, A.G., & Beck, C.J.A. (in press). Detecting intimate partner violence in family and divorce mediation: A randomized trial of intimate partner violence screening. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.

    Marshall, A.D., Panuzio, J., Makin-Byrd, K.N., Taft, C.T., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (in press). A multilevel examination of intimate partner violence and psychological aggression reporting condordance. Behavior Therapy.

    Walling, S.M., Meehan, J.C., Marshall, A.D., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., & Taft, C.T. (in press). The relationship of intimate partner aggression to head injury, executive functioning, and intelligence. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

    Rehman, U., Janssen, E., Hahn, S., Heiman, J., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Fallis, E., & Rafaeli, E. (in press). Marital satisfaction and communication behaviors during sexual and nonsexual conflict discussions in newlywed couples: A pilot study. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.

    Ballard, R.H., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Applegate, A.G., & D"Onofrio, B. (2011). Factors affecting outcome of divorce and paternity mediations. Family Court Review.

    Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Beck, C.J.A., & Applegate, A.G. (2010). The Mediator"s Assessment of Safety Issues and Concerns (MASIC): A screening interview for intimate partner violence and abuse available in the public domain. Family Court Review, 48, 646-662.

    Beck, C.J.A., Walsh, M.E., Ballard, R., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Applegate, A.G., & Putz, J.W. (2010). Divorce mediation with and without legal representation: A focus on intimate partner violence. Family Court Review, 48, 631-645.

    Petterson, M., Ballard, R., Putz, J.W., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A.. (2010). Representation disparities and impartiality: An empirical analysis of party perception of fear, preparation, and satisfaction in divorce mediation when only one party has counsel. Family Court Review, 48, 663-671.

    Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Applegate, A.G., D'Onofrio, B., & Bates, J. (2010). Child informed mediation study (CIMS): Incorporating the children's perspective into divorce mediation in an American pilot study. Journal of Family Studies, 16 (2) (Australian journal), 116-129.

    Marshall, A.D., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2010). Recognition of wives' emotional expressions: A mechanism in the relationship between psychopathology and intimate partner violence perpetration. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 21-30.

    Rehman, U.S., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Herron, K., & Clements, K. (2009). My way or no way: Anarchic power, relationship satisfaction, and male violence. Personal Relationships, 16, 475-488.

    Clements, K., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2009). Participation in laboratory research result in emotional distress with one's partner: Comparing violent and nonviolent couples. Journal of Family Violence,24, 283-295.

    Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Applegate, A.G., & D'Onofrio, B.D. (2009). Family dispute resolution: Charting a course for the future. Family Court Review (special issue), 47, 493-505.

    Beck, C.J.,A., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., D'Onofrio, B.M., Fee, W.C., & Hill, F.G. (2009). Collaboration between judges and social science researchers in family law. Family Court Review (special issue), 47, 451-467.

    Applegate, A.G., D'Onofrio, B.M., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2009). Training and transforming students through interdisciplinary education: The intersection of law and psychology. Family Court Review (special issue), 47, 468-484.

    Eckhardt, C., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Norlander, B., Sibley, A., & Cahill, M. (2008). Readiness to change, partner violence subtypes, and treatment outcomes among men in treatment for partner assault. Violence and Victims (special issue), 23, 446-475.

    Taft, C.T., Schumm, J.A., Marshall, A.D., Panuzio, J. & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2008). Family-of-origin maltreatment, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, social information processing deficits, and relationship abuse perpetration. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 637-646.

    Fite, J.E., Bates, J.E., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Dodge, K.A., Nay, S.Y., & Pettit, G.S. (2008). Social information processing mediates the intergenerational transmission of aggressiveness in romantic relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 367-376.

    Clements, K., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2008). Aggressive cognitions of violent versus nonviolent spouses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32, 351-369.

    Christopher, F.S., Pflieger, J.C., Canary, D.J., Guerrero, L.K., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2008). Targeted neighborhood sampling: A new approach for recruiting abusive couples. Journal of Family Violence, 23, 89-100.

    Farris, C., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2007, but not reported on BAC until 2008). Representative sampling of maritally violent and non-violent couples: A feasibility study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 1613-1622.

    Rehman, U., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2007). A cross-cultural examination of the relation of marital communication behavior to marital satisfaction. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 759-763. (personal note: not reported on 2007 BAC report)

    Clements, K., Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Schweinle, W., & Ickes, W. (2007). Empathic accuracy of intimate partners in violent versus nonviolent relationships. Personal Relationships, 14, 369 - 388.

    Rehman, U.S., & Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (2006). A cross-cultural analysis of the demand-withdraw marital interaction: Observing couples from a developing country. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 755-766.