Aug 10, 2004


Project Trust is
designed to prevent child maltreatment. The program was created to assess the
effects of victimization prevention on elementary school students. Project
Trust used “Touch,” a 30 minute play consisting of
vignettes on maltreatment prevention topics, to increases students’ prevention
knowledge and generate abuse disclosures without anxiety. After the play is
performed, there is a 15-minute student question-response session. Project
Trust students demonstrated greater knowledge of
prevention information and difficult-to-acquire concepts.


Target population: elementary school

Project Trust is
designed to prevent child maltreatment.

The program
contains three components. The first is an optional preplay discussion
led by teachers about the terms in the play. The second component is a
play performed by trained high school students. The third component consists of
post-play discussion led by the high school student performers and the Project
TRUST facilitators.

The play used in
the program was “Touch”, which was performed by high school students. The play
is commercially licensed. This play is approximately 30 minutes in length and
consists of vignettes on the continuum of touch from appropriate to
inappropriate, the right to question or refuse exploitative touch, and the way
to say no to uncomfortable situations. After the play is performed, there is a
15-minute student question-response session.


Evaluated population: The evaluated sample
consisted of 1,269 children in grades 1-6 at four public elementary schools in
a midwestern city.

Approach: Classrooms were randomly
assigned to an experimental or control group. In total, 658 children were
randomly assigned to an experimental group and 611 students were randomly
assigned to a control group. Slightly more than half the sample was female and
86 percent were white.

Data were only collected from students after the
intervention. The researchers collected data from children within the two days
following the intervention. Control group students saw the play after the data
were collected. Children were tested in a group setting and testing time was
approximately 50 minutes. To assess retention of knowledge, data on knowledge
of maltreatment prevention was collected again 3 months after the intervention.

The researchers used the Children’s Knowledge of Abuse
Questionnaire-Revised (CKAQ) to assess children’s knowledge of maltreatment.
The researchers also measured children’s anxiety using the Revised Children’s
Manifest Anxiety Scale and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for
Children. Finally, the researchers obtained disclosures of maltreatment
using the Maltreatment Disclosure Report Form.

Results: Results of the study indicated that children
in the experimental group had significantly greater knowledge of maltreatment
prevention than children in the control group. The average score on the
CKAQ for experimental subjects was 26.69 while the average score for control
subjects was 24.08. Children in the experimental group also had more knowledge
of 10 difficult-to-understand concepts in child abuse prevention. Experimental
children scored, on average, one point higher on these items. The researchers
also found that experimental participants scored higher on knowledge of
maltreatment prevention three months after the play. On average,
experimental children scored 2.20 points higher. However, with regard to
gender, the researchers did not find an effect of the program. A 3-month
reassessment showed the no loss in acquired prevention information for the
experimental subgroup

Researchers note that a single point of data collection
creates a limitation in that there was no way to be sure groups were equivalent
before the intervention.



Oldfield, D., Hays, B.J., & Megel, E.
(1996). Evaluation of the effectiveness of Project TRUST: An
elementary-school based victimization prevention strategy. Child Abuse and Neglect,
(9), 821-832.

KEYWORDS: Children, Middle Childhood (6-11),
Elementary School, School-based, Social/Emotional Health, Urban, White or
Caucasian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, American
Indian or Alaska Native, Education, Campaign, Community, Mental Health,
Anxiety, Child Maltreatment.

Program information last updated 08/10/04.