Effective - One study
Date: This profile was posted on June 04, 2011
This is a prevention program for middle and high school students, which is designed to stop or prevent dating violence perpetration and victimization. This program is rated Effective. The intervention group showed statistically significant reductions in psychological, physical, and sexual abuse perpetration, and physical abuse victimization, compared with the control group at the 4-year follow up; however, there were no significant differences between groups on sexual abuse victimization.
Safe Dates is a school-based prevention program for middle and high school students designed to stop or prevent the initiation of dating violence victimization and perpetration, including the psychological, physical, and sexual abuse that may occur between youths involved in a dating relationship. The program goals are to change adolescent norms on dating violence and gender-roles, improve conflict resolution skills for dating relationships, promote victims’ and perpetrators’ beliefs in the need for help and awareness of community resources for dating violence, encourage help-seeking by victims and perpetrators, and develop peer help-giving skills.
Safe Dates is a school-based program that can stand alone or fit within a health education, family, or general life-skills curriculum. Because dating violence is often tied to substance abuse, Safe Dates may also be used with drug and alcohol prevention and general violence prevention programs.
The Safe Dates program relies on primary and secondary prevention activities to target behavioral changes in adolescents. Primary prevention occurs when the onset of perpetration of dating violence is prevented. Secondary prevention is when victims stop being victimized or perpetrators stop being violent. Primary prevention is promoted through school activities, while secondary prevention is promoted through school and community activities.
The Safe Dates program includes a curriculum with nine 50-minute sessions, one 45-minute play to be performed by students, and a poster contest. The sessions include:
Safe Dates involves family members through the use of parent letters and parent brochures, which provide information about resources for dealing with teen dating abuse. In addition, schools can get parents more involved by hosting parent education programs or by talking one-on-one with parents of youth who are victims or perpetrators of dating abuse. Teachers are encouraged to connect with community resources by locating and using community domestic violence and sexual assault information, products, and services that provide valid health information.
- Defining Caring Relationships. Students are introduced to Safe Dates and discuss how they wish to be treated in dating relationships.
- Defining Dating Abuse. Discussing scenarios and statistics, students clearly define dating abuse.
- Why Do People Abuse? Students identify the causes and consequences of dating abuse through large- and small-group scenario discussions.
- How to Help Friends. Students learn why it is difficult to leave abusive relationships and how to help an abused friend through a decision-making exercise and dramatic reading.
- Helping Friends. Students use stories and role-playing to practice skills for helping abused friends or for confronting abusing friends.
- Overcoming Gender Stereotypes. Students learn about gender stereotypes and how they affect dating relationships through a writing exercise, scenarios, and small-group discussions.
- Equal Power Through Communication. Students learn the eight skills for effective communication and practice them in role-plays.
- How We Feel, How We Deal. Students learn effective ways to recognize and handle anger through a diary and a discussion of “hot buttons,” so that anger does not lead to abusive behavior.
- Preventing Sexual Assault. Students learn about sexual assault and how to prevent it through a quiz, a caucus, and a panel of peers.
Psychological Abuse Perpetration
Foshee and colleagues (2005) found a statistically significant reduction in psychological abuse perpetration for the treatment group, compared with the control group, at the 4-year follow up.
Physical Abuse Perpetration
Participants in the treatment group reported statistically significant reductions in levels of moderate physical abuse perpetration, compared with control group participants, at the 4-year follow up.
Sexual Violence Perpetration
Participants in the treatment group reported statistically significant reductions in levels of sexual abuse perpetration, compared with control group participants, at the 4-year follow up.
Physical Abuse Victimization
Participants in the treatment group reported statistically significant reductions in levels of physical abuse victimization, compared with the control group, at the 4-year follow up.
Sexual Abuse Victimization
There were no statistically significant differences between groups on sexual abuse victimization at the 4-year follow up.
Foshee and colleagues (2005) examined five waves of data collected on a group of students participating in a quasi-experimental evaluation of the Safe Dates program reported earlier by Foshee and a different set of colleagues (1998) that was conducted during 1994 and 1995. The evaluation took place at 14 public schools that had eighth and ninth grades. The schools, which were in a primarily rural North Carolina county, were stratified by grade and matched on size. The schools in each pair were randomly assigned to a treatment or to a control condition.
In the original study, baseline measures were completed by 1,886 youths (80 percent of the 2,344 eligible participants). The sample consisted of 1,566 adolescents who completed the baseline questionnaire and who were in either the control group or the Safe Dates program. Students in the original study who received Safe Dates plus a booster condition at 1 year were excluded from the longitudinal study. Of the 1,566 adolescents, 72 percent were white and 46.8 percent were male. Mean age at baseline was 13.9 years. There were 636 youths in the treatment group and 930 in the control group. The exclusion of the adolescents in the original Safe Dates group who received the booster created the imbalance between the treatment and control groups. Baseline equivalence of the groups was assessed, and no significant differences were found in outcome, mediating, or demographic variables between the treatment and control groups.
The Likert-scale questionnaires used in this evaluation were designed specifically for this study to measure four victimization and four perpetration variables. Psychological abuse perpetration was measured by asking: “During the last year how often have you done the following things to someone you had a date with?” Fourteen acts were listed (e.g., damaged something that belonged to the other person, insulted that person in front of him or her). Response options ranged from 0 (never) to 3 (very often). A parallel set of questions was used to assess psychological abuse victimization.
Eighteen additional questions were used to measure the following violence variables: moderate physical abuse (e.g., scratching, twisting partner’s arm); severe physical abuse (e.g., burning, choking, beating up); and sexual violence. Responses ranged from 0 (never) to 3 (10 or more times). Parallel questions were used to measure moderate physical abuse victimization, severe physical violence victimization and sexual dating violence.
Follow-up data was collected from treatment and controls at 1 month (wave 2), 1 year (wave 3), 2 years (wave 4), 3 years (wave 5), and 4 years (wave 6). The present evaluation reports up to wave 5 (3 years). There was a 50 percent rate of attrition from wave 1 to wave 5 but no group differences in attrition. Data missing because of attrition was handled using multiple imputation procedures. According to this procedure, sets of plausible values for missing observations are created on the basis of a specified missingness equation and an algorithm that preserves uncertainty about nonresponse.
The final data analysis was conducted using random coefficient regression analysis, using a nested error structure, accounting for correlation within individuals’ responses over time and of the individual responses within schools.
Information about costs of the program can be found on the Hazelden Publishing website: https://www.hazelden.org/web/public/safedates.page
Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:Study 1Foshee, Vangie Ann, Karl E. Bauman, Susan T. Ennett, Chirayath Suchindran, Thad Benefield, and G. Fletcher Linder. 2005. “Assessing the Effects of the Dating Violence Prevention Program ‘Safe Dates’ Using Random Coefficient Regression Modeling.” Prevention Science 6:245–57.
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:
De Grace, Alyssa, and Angela Clarke. 2012. “Promising Practices in the Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence Among Adolescents.” Violence and Victims
27(6):849–59Foshee, Vangie Ann, Karl E. Bauman, Ximena B. Arriaga, Russell W. Helms, Gary G. Koch, and George Fletcher Linder. 1998. “An Evaluation of Safe Dates, an Adolescent Dating Violence Prevention Program.” American Journal of Public Health 88:45–50.Foshee, Vangie Ann, Karl E. Bauman, Susan T. Ennett, George Fletcher Linder, Thad Benefield, and Chirayath Suchindran. 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):619–24.Foshee, Vangie Ann, Karl E. Bauman, Wendy F. Greene, Gary G. Koch, George Fletcher Linder, and James E. MacDougall. 2000. “The Safe Dates Program: 1-Year Follow-Up Results.” American Journal of Public Health 90:1619–22.Foshee, Vangie A., Karl E. Bauman, Fletcher Linder, Jennifer Rice, and Rose Wilcher. 2007. “Typologies of Adolescent Dating Violence: Identifying Typologies of Adolescent Dating Violence Perpetration. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 22(5):498–519.