Robinson-Whelen and colleagues (2014) used a randomized controlled trial to determine if A Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) improved safety protective factors among participants. Each of the 10 centers for independent living (CIL) leaders were responsible for recruiting 20 to 22 women for the study. Women participating in the study had to be at least 18 years old; have a physical, visual, mental health, cognitive, or developmental disability or other health condition for at least 1 year that caused a limitation in one or more major life activities, or deafness or hearing loss; a demonstrated ability to give informed consent; and fluency in English or American Sign Language. Women were also required to correctly answer at least four of the five questions on a comprehension of consent test, which all study participants passed.
The women were randomly assigned to either the treatment group (ASAP plus regular CIL services) or the usual care (regular CIL services only) condition. Safety-related variables were assessed at pretest (prior to the intervention), at 2 months (immediately after the intervention), and at 6 months (4 months after the intervention). A total of 109 women were assigned to the treatment group, and 104 women were assigned to usual care. Among all participants, the average age was 48 years old. Most of the overall study sample (72 percent) was white, with 18 percent African American and 9 percent mixed race or multi-race. For 56.8 percent of the overall study sample, the primary disability was a physical disability or health condition, while 23.5 percent had a mental health disability, 11.3 percent had a cognitive or learning disability, and 8.5 percent had a visual disability. Most participants (71.4 percent) had experienced some abuse in their lifetimes. The most common abuse reported was physical abuse (66.5 percent), followed by sexual abuse (45.1 percent). Comparing women assigned to the two conditions, no group differences were observed on any of the demographic, disability characteristics, or prior abuse experience.
At all three testing times, participants completed an abuse-awareness scale, as well as measures of 1) abuse and safety knowledge, 2) safety skills, 3) safety self-efficacy, 4) social network, 5) social support, and 6) safety-promoting behaviors.
- Lifetime abuse experience was assessed using the Abuse Assessment Screen Disability (AAS-D; McFarlane et al. 2001).
- Abuse awareness was measured by the five-item Abuse Awareness Scale (Robinson-Whelen et al. 2010). Abuse and safety knowledge was measured using the ASAP Knowledge Test.
- Safety skills were measured with six items, asking respondents to indicate, along a 5-point scale, how much they had learned certain safety skills such as self-defense.
- Safety self-efficacy was assessed with two measures. The first was the six-item Safety Planning Self-Efficacy Scale (SPSES; Taylor, Hughes, Mastel-Smith, Howland, and Nosek 2002). The second measure was the nine-item Safety Self-Efficacy Scale (Robinson-Whelen et al. 2010).
- Social network was assessed using the six-item Friendship subscale of the Lubben Social Network Scale-Revised (LSNS-R; Lubben, Gironda, and Lee 2002).
- Social support was assessed using the eight-item Emotional/Informational Support subscale of the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (MOS-SS; Sherbourne and Stewart 1991).
- Lastly, safety-promoting behaviors were assessed using a seven-item, 5-point scale. More information on the development of these items can be found in Powers and colleagues (2009) and Robinson-Whelen and colleagues (2010).
A general linear mixed-model analytic plan was applied. Least square means were calculated for both intervention and control groups at all three measurement times. No subgroup analysis was conducted.