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Program Profile: Change A Life

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on December 06, 2018

Program Summary

A free, interactive online program for adults designed to educate the public about the effects of childhood exposure to domestic violence (DV) and improve adults’ self-efficacy in helping children exposed to DV. The program is rated Promising. There was a statistically significant increase in knowledge about DV exposure for both community and university samples, compared with the control groups. There was a statistically significant increase in self-efficacy for only the community sample.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
Change A Life is a free, interactive online program targeted toward adults in the general community. Change A Life was developed with the goals of 1) educating community members about childhood exposure to domestic violence (DV) and the subsequent ramifications of this exposure, and 2) helping community members improve their self-efficacy in helping children who have been exposed to DV.

Program Theory
Studies have consistently indicated that positive, supportive relationships with adults can buffer children from the adverse effects of DV exposure (Graham-Bermann et al. 2009; Martinez-Torteya et al. 2009; Tajima et al. 2011). However, according to the bystander intervention theory, adults are unlikely to engage in helping behaviors, such as fostering relationships, if they do not recognize a situation as problematic or are unaware of how to help (Latané and Darley 1970). Bystanders are individuals who are witnesses to a problematic situation. Bystander intervention theory further suggests that individuals are less likely to intervene if they do not feel confident that their actions will help the person in need (Latané and Darley 1970).

Change A Life tries to overcome the bystander intervention effects through first educating participants about youth exposure to DV and then increasing their self-efficacy by providing instruction on how to support youth who have been exposed to DV.

Program Components
Change A Life consists of four sections that use short video clips, quizzes, and informational drop-downs to inform participants about the prevalence and impact of children’s exposure to DV. The sections also provide step-by-step training to prepare the participants to help foster resilience in children exposed to DV. Each section takes between 4 to 10 minutes to complete.

  1. Learn: Participants are educated about the prevalence, experience, and ramifications of children’s exposure to DV. This section addresses exposure to both physical and emotional violence. Participants view a brief video that features interviews with experts. Participants also read key information on how DV influences youth and how to discuss sensitive topics with children.
  2. Connect: Participants are provided with the necessary skills to support children experiencing DV. This section includes a brief video and a user-paced slideshow that incorporates suggestions for connecting with affected youth, such as how to communicate positive messages that encourage the child to make constructive choices.
  3. Support: Participants are given examples of how to support children exposed to DV. This section includes a video and flow diagrams that outline different appropriate responses when addressing a child exposed to DV, and how these responses translate to positive outcomes for the child. Response examples are provided for a variety of contexts, including home, school, and community settings.
  4. Help: Participants are educated on how to encourage and inspire children experiencing DV to promote their resilience. Participants are instructed to use specific phrases such as “It’s not your job to stop [the DV]”, and ”It’s not your fault”.
Participants complete a brief quiz at the end of each section. Each question provides response feedback to reinforce the correct answer and emphasize its importance. The program concludes with a final review section that includes all quizzes, participant responses, and correct answers. The program can be completed in 30 minutes.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Sargent and colleagues (2016a) found a statistically significant increase in knowledge about DV exposure and self-efficacy for the community sample of adults, compared with the control group. However, for the university sample of adults, Sargent and colleagues (2016b) found a statistically significant increase in knowledge about DV exposure, but no statistically significant impact on self-efficacy, compared with the control group. Overall, the preponderance of evidence suggests the program had the intended effects.

Study 1
Knowledge of Impact of Domestic Violence on Children
Sargent and colleagues (2016a) found that community participants in the Change A Life condition showed a statistically significant increase in measures of knowledge about the consequences of children’s exposure to domestic violence, compared with the control condition, from baseline to the 1-week follow up.

Self-Efficacy to Help Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
Community participants in the Change A Life condition experienced a statistically significant increase in measures of self-efficacy, compared with the control condition, from baseline to the 1-week follow up.

Study 2
Knowledge of Impact of Domestic Violence on Children
Sargent and colleagues (2016b) found that university participants in the Change A Life condition showed a statistically significant increase in measures of knowledge about the consequences of children’s exposure to domestic violence, compared with the control condition, from baseline to the 1-week follow up.

Self-Efficacy to Help Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
There were no statistically significant differences in measures of self-efficacy in the Change A Life condition, compared with the control condition, from baseline to the 1-week follow up.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Sargent and colleagues (2016a) conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the Change A Life program in a sample of adults from a large urban area. The sample was recruited through a Craigslist advertisement. Participants had to be over the age of 18 to be eligible for the study.

The sample consisted of 78 females and 31 males, for a total of 109 participants. Participants were 41 percent white, 36 percent black, 17 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian, and 2 percent other race/ethnicity. Participants were randomly assigned to the Change A Life condition (n= 54) or to the control condition, which was an online educational video on early detection of Alzheimer’s (n= 56). There were no statistically significant differences between groups on most demographic variables, but participants in the Change A Life condition (average age, 42.35 years) were older than participants in the control condition (average age, 36.25 years). Baseline assessments were conducted from June through July 2014. Participants in both conditions participated in a 60- to 90-minute lab visit to answer questionnaires and view an online program. A week later, they were emailed a follow-up questionnaire that took 30 to 45 minutes to complete. The average number of days between completion of the initial program and the follow up was 8.45 and did not differ significantly between groups. A limitation of the study design was the short 1-week follow-up period.

To test participants’ knowledge about consequences of domestic violence (DV) and how to help children exposed to DV, participants completed a questionnaire of 16 true-false questions based on the Change A Life program contents. Participants completed a 10-item scale to measure their confidence in their ability to help children exposed to DV. Researchers also measured participants’ history of childhood DV exposure using the Physical Assault subscale of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale as a moderator. Mixed-design ANOVAs were conducted to analyze the data. The study authors conducted subgroup analyses looking at the impact of childhood DV exposure and participant sex on the outcome measures.

Study 2
Sargent and colleagues (2016b) also conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the Change A Life program in a sample of students from a midsize, private university in the southwestern United States. The sample was recruited from undergraduate psychology classes. Participants had to be university students to be eligible for the study.

The sample consisted of 117 females and 29 males, for a total of 146 participants. Participants were 70 percent white, 12 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic, 6 percent black, and 1 percent other race/ethnicity. Participants were randomly assigned to the Change A Life condition (n = 78) or the control condition, which was an online educational video on early detection of Alzheimer’s (n = 68). Baseline assessments were conducted from January through March 2015. The two groups did not significantly differ on any demographic variables. Participants in both conditions participated in a 60- to 90-minute lab visit to answer questionnaires and view an online program. A week later, they were emailed a follow-up questionnaire, which took 30 to 45 minutes to complete. The average number of days between completion of the initial program and the follow-up period was 8.73 and did not differ significantly between groups. A limitation of the study design was the short 1-week follow-up period.

To test participants’ knowledge about consequences of domestic violence (DV) and how to help children exposed to DV, participants completed a questionnaire of 16 true-false questions based on the Change A Life program contents. Participants completed a 10-item scale to measure their confidence in their ability to help children exposed to DV. Researchers also measured participants’ history of childhood DV exposure using the Physical Assault subscale of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale as a moderator. Mixed-design ANOVAs were conducted to analyze the data. The study authors conducted subgroup analyses looking at the impact of childhood DV exposure and participant sex on the outcome measures.
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Implementation Information

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For information about implementation, visit the Childhood Domestic Violence Association’s website: https://cdv.org/tools-and-resources/the-change-a-life-program/
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Other Information

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The study authors (Sargent and colleagues 2016a) conducted subgroup analyses looking at the impact of childhood domestic violence (DV) exposure and participant sex on outcome measures for both the community participants and university participants. Forty-two percent of participants from the community and university reported exposure to DV during childhood. No interaction effects for DV exposure or sex were detected on the measured outcomes.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Sargent, Kelli S., Renee McDonald, Nicole L. Vu, and Ernest N. Jouriles. 2016a. “Evaluating an Online Program to Help Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: Results of Two Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Family Violence 31(5):647–54.

Study 2
Sargent, Kelli S., Renee McDonald, Nicole L. Vu, and Ernest N. Jouriles. 2016b. “Evaluating an Online Program to Help Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: Results of Two Randomized Controlled Trials.” Journal of Family Violence 31(5):647–54.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Graham-Bermann, Sandra A., Gabrielle Gruber, Kathryn H. Howell, and Laura Girz. 2009. “Factors Discriminating Among Profiles of Resilience and Psychopathology in Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).” Child Abuse & Neglect 33(9):648–60.

Latané, Bibb, and John M. Darley. 1970. The Unresponsive Bystander: Why Doesn’t He Help. New York: Appleton Century Crofts.

Tajima, Emiko, Todd I. Herrenkohl, Carrie A. Moylan, and Amelia S. Derr. 2011. “Moderating the Effects of Childhood Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence: The Roles of Parenting Characteristics and Adolescent Peer Support.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 21(2):376–94.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 17+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Campus, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Community Awareness/Mobilization, Children Exposed to Violence, Violence Prevention

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide