American Journal of Public Health
Key Points-- Four years after receiving the Safe Dates program, adolescents were less likely to perpetrate or be victims of dating violence. A booster administered two years after the program did not make a difference. Summary-- Ten schools in a rural North Carolina county were randomly assigned to receive the Safe Dates program or to control conditions. Seventh and eighth grade students in the treatment schools (n=1886) participated in the Safe Dates project. Students completed a survey at baseline, about one month after the end of the program, and then yearly for four years. (See Foshee et al., 1998, for one-month results, and Foshee, et al., 2000, for one-year results.) After three years, a randomly selected group of students were given a booster (an 11-page newsletter and a follow-up phone call). One year later, all three study groups-controls, those who received Safe Dates only, and those who also received the booster-were compared on victimization and perpetration outcomes. Students who participated in Safe Dates had significantly lower victimization and perpetration rates than those in the control group. The rates reported by the booster group rates were similar to those reported by the Safe Dates-only group. The authors concluded that the Safe Dates program significantly reduced adolescent dating violence over the long term, but that the booster was not effective. Limitations-- The intervention was conducted in one rural county, and results may not be generalizable to areas with different demographics. All data was self-reported by participants, and may be subject to social desirability effects.
Adolescent/High school; evaluation; prevention