Friends helping friends: A non-randomized control trial of a peer based response to dating violence

This pilot study sought to measure the effectiveness of the Friends Helping Friends bystander education program for college students.


Summary: A non-randomized control trial of the Friends Helping Friends bystander education program took place at a large private University located in the northeastern United States. One hundred and one students volunteered for the study.  Participants were recruited from three undergraduate classes.  The Friends Helping Friends sessions were one hour long and were administered everyday during the course of a week and pre and post tests were administered using online surveys.  The Friends Helping Friends program was facilitated by three peer educators who each received 12 hours of training.  A manual, PowerPoint presentation, and scripts were all created and role playing was used to demonstrate safe bystander interventions. The study found that participants had a statistically significant decrease in Rape Myth Acceptance after completing the intervention.  Bystander intention to help and intention to intervene attitudes and likelihoods also increased after participation in the program.

Application/Evaluation: The study findings showed that the bystander education program, Friends Helping Friends, might be a promising tool for increasing bystander behaviors, attitudes, and intention to help.  Pre and post tests were administered and the program underwent fidelity testing.

Limitations: Most participants self-identified as Caucasian and were from upper middle class backgrounds. The results may not be generalizable to a more diverse college population.

Amar, A. F., Tuccinardi, N., Heislein, J., & Simpson, S.
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Nursing Outlook
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