Efficacy of a dating violence prevention program on attitudes justifying aggression

Objectives: The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate a five-session dating violence prevention curriculum in terms of its effect on attitudes justifying the use of dating violence. Methods: The curriculum was implemented in all health classes in a Long Island, New York, school. A total of 193 students participated (boys, n = 106; girls, n = 87). A quasi=experimental design was used to evaluate change in attitudes justifying dating violence, with health classes randomly assigned to the treatment or no-treatment conditions. Results: Pre- to postprogram assessments indicated that there were significant decreases in overall attitudes justifying the use of dating violence as a means to resolve conflict among students exposed to the curriculum material, whereas those who were not exposed did not show attitude change from pre- to postprogram evaluation Conclusions: The curriculum shows promise as an effective tool for changing attitudes condoning dating violence. Future research is needed to determine whether the observed attitutde change is also linked to reduction in aggressive behaviors.
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Journal of Adolescent Health
This paper discusses the value of a five-session dating violence prevention curriculum by comparing pre- and posttreatment differences in attitudes concerning dating violence among 193 high school students. Students taking health classes were randomly assigned either to the treatment condition or the control condition. Students in the treatment condition were exposed to a communication skills-based violence prevention program designed to address courtship aggression as a social and psychological issue. The Modified Conflict Tactics scale (MCTS), the Justification of Interpersonal Violence questionnaire (AIV), the Justification of Dating Jealousy and Violence scale (JDV), and the Social Desirability scale (SDS) were administered to all participants. Results revealed that within the treatment group there were significant changes in attitudes concerning dating aggression. Specifically, attitudes concerning justification of male-to-female dating aggression and female-to-male dating aggression were affected in that treatment subjects were less accepting of dating violence during an argument at the postprogram evaluation stage. The authors suggest that more sensitive measures of attitudes concerning dating violence (i.e., AIV and JDV) may be necessary since one-half to two-thirds of the students during the preprogram assessment already felt that physical violence is never justifiable during an argument. Overall, changes in attitudes among participants suggest that this type of curriculum may be a useful tool for prevention of dating aggression.
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Adolescent/High School, Curriculum, Evaluation, Prevention
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