BACKGROUND: Schools in the United States are increasingly being urged to address the problem of adolescent dating violence (DV) with their students. Given the limited time available to implement prevention programming during the school day, brief programs are needed. The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy of a widely disseminated, brief community-based DV prevention program in partnership with a nonprofit community agency. METHODS: We conducted a randomized waitlist control trial of a 5-session DV prevention program (active condition) compared to health class as usual (waitlist control condition). Participants were 225 10th-grade students with a recent dating history in a large public school in New England. Surveys were administered at baseline, end of program, and 3 months postintervention. RESULTS: After completing the program, students in the active condition reported significantly lower approval of aggression, healthier dating attitudes, and more DV knowledge. These effects were sustained at 3-month follow-up. In addition, students in the active condition reported significantly less emotional/verbal and total DV perpetration and victimization at 3-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that a brief, community-based DV prevention curriculum can promote change in behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge among high school students.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health