Program

Jul 11, 2011

OVERVIEW

The Safe Dates program was developed to prevent adolescent dating violence.
This program has both school and community components. A long term evaluation of
the program found it to have positive impacts in reducing perpetration of
physical abuse, psychological abuse, and/or sexual abuse up to four years after
completion of the program. The program had mixed findings regarding its impact
on dating violence victimization.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:Adolescents

The Safe Dates program involved both school and community activities.

Community activities were aimed at increasing the community resources available
to adolescents involved in partner violence. Community servants who dealt with
adolescents were trained on how to render their services more useful for
adolescents in violent relationships. Additionally, new services were provided
for these adolescents. Services included a crisis line, support groups, and
materials for parents.

School activities sought to change norms associated with partner violence,
decrease gender stereotyping, and improve students’ conflict management skills.
A ten-session curriculum was developed to this end. This curriculum defined
caring relationships, dating abuse, and sexual assault and provided students
with opportunities to discuss why people abuse their partners. Students also
learned how to protect themselves from dating violence and how to help friends
involved in partner violence. In addition to the Safe Dates curriculum, schools
enacting the Safe Dates program put on a theater production about dating
violence and held a dating violence poster contest.

As of June, 2011, Safe Dates curriculum manuals can be purchased for $225.00
each.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Study 1:

Foshee, V.A. (1998). Involving Schools and Communities in Preventing
Adolescent Dating Abuse. In X.B. Arriaga & S. Oskamp (Eds.), Addressing
Community Problems: Psychological Research and Interventions
(pp.
104-129). Thousand Oaks,CA: SAGE Publications.

Foshee, V.A., Bauman, K.E., Arriaga, X.B., Helms, R.W., Koch, G.G., & Linder,
G.F. (1998). An Evaluation of Safe Dates, an Adolescent Dating Violence
Prevention Program. American Journal of Public Health, 88(1), 45-50.

Foshee, V.A., Bauman, K.E., Greene, W.F., Koch, G.G., Linder, G.F., MacDougall,
J.E. (2000). The Safe Dates Program: 1-Year Follow-Up Results. American
Journal of Public Health, 90
, 1619-1622.

Evaluated population:In
1994, the Safe Dates program was implemented in Johnston County, North Carolina,
a primarily rural county with approximately 82,000 residents. 2,344 8th and
9th graders at 14 public schools in Johnston County were eligible to
participate in this study. 1,866 (81%) of these students completed baseline
questionnaires. These students ranged in age from 12 to 17. The sample was were
77 percent white, 19 percent black, and 4 percent of other ethnic background.
72 percent of these students had been on a date before. Of those students who
had dated in the past, 36 percent of the females and 39 percent of the males
reported ever having been the victim of partner violence and 28 percent of
females and 15 percent of males reported ever having been the perpetrator of
partner violence.

Approach:The
14 participating schools were stratified by grade, matched by size, and then
randomly assigned to the treatment group or to the control group. All students
were exposed to Safe Dates’ community activities, but only treatment schools
implemented the Safe Dates curriculum, theater production, and poster contest.

In September 1994, all students were administered questionnaires that assessed
whether they had perpetrated or been victim to psychological abuse, non-sexual
violence, or sexual violence. Questionnaires also measured whether students’
current relationships were abusive and whether students had sought help to deal
with this abuse. Additional measures tapped into acceptance of norms about
dating violence, gender stereotyping, belief in the need for perpetrators and
victims of dating violence to get help, awareness of resources available to
help, communication skills, and responses to anger.

Following the administration of baseline measures, 20 three-hour workshops were
offered to community service providers in JohnstonCounty who worked with
adolescents. 63% of eligible service providers received the training. A crisis
line was made available to adolescents and, at the headquarters for the crisis
line, services were provided for the victims of partner violence and their
parents.

At treatment schools, the theater production occurred in November. The Safe
Dates curriculum was delivered in January and February. Teachers delivering the
Safe Dates curriculum received 20 hours of training and were allowed to teach
the ten 45-minute Safe Dates lessons according to whatever pace best fit their
school’s practices. The poster contest took place in March 1995. Not all
treatment students submitted posters, but all were exposed to the posters and
voted on their favorites.

All students were re-surveyed in May 1995, one month after program activities
ended, and again in May 1996.

Results:

One-Month Follow-Up

90 percent of students who completed baseline questionnaires completed follow-up
questionnaires one month after program activities ended (n = 1700). At this
point, compared with students in control schools, students in treatment schools
were significantly less likely to report ever having been the perpetrator of
psychological abuse and marginally less likely to report ever having been the
perpetrator of sexual violence. Treatment students were also significantly less
likely to report perpetrating violence in their current relationship.
Differences between treatment students and control students on measures of
perpetration of nonsexual violence were non-significant.

There were no significant differences between treatment students and control
students on any measure of victimization. Students in treatment schools were
just as likely as students in control schools to have ever been the victim of
psychological abuse, nonsexual violence, or sexual violence, and they were just
as likely to be suffering from abuse in their current relationships.

Students in treatment schools were significantly more likely than students in
control schools to be aware of services for victims and perpetrators of dating
violence; however, they were not more likely to have made use of these services.

The Safe Dates program had a significant impact on beliefs and attitudes
relating to dating violence. Compared with control students, treatment students
had significantly less belief in prescribed norms about dating violence and
significantly more belief in opposing norms. They perceived significantly fewer
positive consequences and marginally more negative consequences as being
associated with dating violence. Treatment students were significantly more
likely to believe that adolescents involved in violent relationships needed help
and significantly less likely to agree with gender stereotypes.

The program also had an impact on students’ conflict management skills.
Treatment students were significantly more likely than control students to use
constructive communication when involved in disagreements and respond
constructively when angry. Differences between control students and treatment
students on use of destructive communication and destructive responses were not
significant.

One-Year Follow-Up

85 percent of students who completed baseline questionnaires completed follow-up
questionnaires one year after program activities ended (n = 1603). At this
point, the impacts of the Safe Dates program on behavior had faded. Treatment
students were now just as likely as control students to be perpetrators of
dating violence. Treatment students remained just as likely as control students
to be victims of dating violence. Though they remained more aware of services
designed to help adolescents involved in dating violence, treatment students
were still no more likely than control students to be making use of these
services.

Impacts on conflict resolution skills appeared to have faded somewhat, as well.
Treatment students were less likely than control students to report responding
destructively when angry, but they were not more likely to report responding
constructively. Differences between treatment and control students on measures
on constructive communication when involved in disagreements were
non-significant.

The program’s impact on attitudes toward dating violence was preserved over
time, however. Compared with control students, treatment students remained
significantly less accepting of dating violence. Treatment students also
perceived significantly more negative consequences as being associated with
dating violence.

The researchers considered their findings to be in line with a general trend
among behavior prevention programs that impacts on behavior fade over time,
while impacts on cognitive risk factors are maintained. They posited that
perhaps a booster intervention could have served to prolong or increase the Safe
Dates program’s impact on behavior.

Study 2: Foshee, B.A., Bauman, K.E., Ennett, S.T., Linder, G.F., Benefield, T.,
& Suchindran, C. (2004). Assessing the Long-Term Effects of the Safe Dates
Program and a Booster in Preventing and Reducing Adolescent Dating Violence
Victimization and Perpetration. American Journal of Public Health, 94(4),
619-624.

Evaluated population: Following
the collection of one-year follow-up data, parents of adolescents who had
supplied baseline data when in 8th grade were contacted to solicit
consent for continued participation on the part of their child. 65 percent of
parents consented, which equated to 620 students entering the long-term
follow-up study sample.

Approach: All
students whose parents had consented to continued participation were re-surveyed
in May 1997, 1998, and 1999 – two, three, and four years after the conclusion of
program activities.

After the administration of the two-year follow-up, all long-term follow-up
students who had originally been part of the Safe Dates treatment group were
randomly assigned to booster and non-booster conditions. Students in the
booster condition received an 11-page newsletter in the mail. This newsletter
contained information and worksheets based on the Safe Dates curriculum. Four
weeks after receiving the newsletter, booster students were contacted by phone
by a health educator. The health educator answered questions and provided
information related to the newsletter. Additionally, the health educator
assessed whether the newsletter activities had been completed by the booster
student. Students who had completed all activities received $10 compensation.

Results:

Four-Year Follow-Up

460 students (74% of the original long-term follow-up sample) completed both the
two-year and the four-year follow-up questionnaires. At the four-year
follow-up, students who had been in the Safe Dates treatment group were
significantly less likely to be perpetrators of physical abuse, serious physical
abuse, and/or sexual abuse. They were not significantly less likely to be
perpetrators of psychological abuse. Treatment students were also significantly
less likely to be victims of sexual abuse. They were not less likely to be
victims of psychological abuse.

The impact of the Safe Dates program on physical and serious physical
victimization was moderated by prior involvement with these behaviors. Among
students whose prior involvement with physical victimization was average or
high, treatment students were significantly less likely than control students to
report physical abuse victimization at follow-up. And among students who had
not been victims of physical abuse in the past, treatment students were
marginally less likely than control students to report physical abuse
victimization at follow-up (P = .07).

The booster program did not serve to increase the effectiveness of the Safe
Dates program. Students assigned to the booster group were not any less likely
to be perpetrators or victims of dating violence.

Findings did not differ by race or gender. The rate of attrition from the
treatment group was not significantly different from that of the control group.

Study 3: Foshee, B.A., Bauman, K.E., Ennett, S.T., Suchindran, C., Benefield,
T., & Linder, G.F., (2005). Assessing the Effects of the Dating Violence
Prevention Program “Safe Dates” Using Random Coefficient Modeling. Prevention
Science, 6
(3), 245-258.

Evaluated population: This
study reports data for the sample from Study 1. Students who were randomly
assigned to the booster condition in Study 2 are excluded from this study,
because the authors wanted to focus on the effects of the original intervention.

Approach: The
data collection process is described above. This study includes data collected
at baseline (wave 1) and one month (wave 2), one year (wave 3), two years (wave
4), and three years (wave 5) post intervention. Results from waves 1 through 3
were reported previously in Study 1. However, in this study, the authors used a
different analytical strategy (random coefficient regression modeling) and used
multiple imputation procedures to account for attrition. Random coefficient
modeling is superior to the statistical analyses used in previous papers because
it can assess the impacts of the intervention over time while controlling for
individual and school variables and can include covariates (mediators and
moderators) without segmenting the sample. The use of multiple imputation
procedures strengthened the study by allowing the researchers to impute values
without underestimating standard errors or bias parameter estimates, as often
happens with simpler imputation procedures.

Results:
Results based on these more sophisticated analyses are substantially similar to
findings reported earlier.Adolescents who received the Safe Dates
intervention reported perpetrating less psychological abuse, moderate physical
abuse, and sexual dating abuse than control group adolescents at all four
follow-up assessments. Regarding physical abuse perpetration, adolescents in the
intervention condition who reported no or average amounts of severe physical
perpetration at baseline reported less severe physical abuse perpetration than
control group adolescents at each follow-up. However, for adolescents who
reported high levels of severe physical abuse perpetration at baseline, there
was no intervention impact.

Adolescents who participated in Safe Dates were less likely to be victims of
moderate physical violence than control group adolescents. Intervention group
adolescents were also less likely to be victims of sexual abuse, though this
effect was only marginally significant (p = .07). There was no intervention
impact on the likelihood of being a victim of psychological abuse or severe
physical abuse.

Adolescents in the intervention group reported less acceptance of dating
violence, less acceptance of traditional gender roles, a stronger belief in the
need for help, and more awareness of community services at all four follow-up
assessments. There was no impact on conflict resolution skills. Mediation
analyses showed that differences in acceptance of dating violence, acceptance of
gender-roles, and awareness of community services mediated the effects of the
program on dating violence perpetration and victimization.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Safe Dates curriculum materials available for purchase at:


http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/safedates.page

References:

Foshee, V.A. (1998). Involving Schools and Communities in Preventing
Adolescent Dating Abuse. In X.B. Arriaga & S. Oskamp (Eds.), Addressing
Community Problems: Psychological Research and Interventions
(pp.
104-129). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Foshee, V.A., Bauman, K.E., Arriaga, X.B., Helms, R.W., Koch, G.G., & Linder,
G.F. (1998). An Evaluation of Safe Dates, an Adolescent Dating Violence
Prevention Program. American Journal of Public Health, 88(1), 45-50.

Foshee, V.A., Bauman, K.E., Greene, W.F., Koch, G.G., Linder, G.F., MacDougall,
J.E. (2000). The Safe Dates Program: 1-Year Follow-Up Results. American
Journal of Public Health, 90
, 1619-1622.

Foshee, B.A., Bauman, K.E., Ennett, S.T., Linder, G.F., Benefield, T., &
Suchindran, C. (2004). Assessing the Long-Term Effects of the Safe Dates
Program and a Booster in Preventing and Reducing Adolescent Dating Violence
Victimization and Perpetration. American Journal of Public Health, 94(4),
619-624.

Foshee, B.A., Bauman, K.E., Ennett, S.T., Suchindran, C., Benefield, T., &
Linder, G.F., (2005). Assessing the Effects of the Dating Violence Prevention
Program “Safe Dates” Using Random Coefficient Modeling. Prevention Science,
6
(3), 245-258.

KEYWORDS:
Adolescence (12-17), Youth (16-24), Middle School, High School, School-based,
Community-based, Curriculum, Rural, Behavioral Problems, Dating Violence, Other
Social/Emotional Health, White or Caucasian, Cost information is available,
Manual is available, Social Skills/Life Skills.

Program information last updated on 7/11/11.

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