The prevalence and consequences of dating violence among young adolescents is alarming. In this study, we propose to evaluate a web-based teen dating violence (TDV) prevention program for ethnic minority middle school students, It's Your Game-Dating Violence (IYG-DV). Although initially developed as It's Your Game...Keep it Real (IYG) to impact adolescent sexual health, it has also shown positive impact on reducing emotional and physical TDV victimization and emotional TDV perpetration. There were no effects, however, for physical TDV perpetration and effects on sexual TDV are unknown. The benefits of IYG for reducing TDV, therefore, can be enhanced by expanding the IYG program to a) more directly address physical and sexual TDV perpetration and b) encompass multiple levels of the social-ecological model (e.g., youth, family, school staff) for TDV prevention. IYG-DV will include interactive, web-based activities (including activities tailored by gender, relationship status, and experience of dating abuse) to enhance psychosocial factors (e.g., knowledge, skills, self-efficacy, attitudes and norms, gender role beliefs, perceived parental and school factors) related to preventing TDV. It will also incorporate web-based school staff and parent materials to assist with identification, skills training, referral, and resource support. Th evaluation design will comprise a randomized controlled trial (n=1000 7th-grade youth) in 10 urban middle schools. Baseline, immediate post- intervention and 12-month follow-up student surveys will be administered via ACASI to assess the program's short- and long-term impact on psychosocial and behavioral outcomes. Cost-effectiveness analyses will be included to examine the program's economic impact. IYG-DV will have significant advantages over existing TDV prevention programs, most of which are costly and/or taxing on schools'limited resources and targeted to older predominantly white youth. IYG-DV will (1) be designed for younger, ethnic minority youth, who are at increased risk for TDV;(2) be easily delivered and tailored to individual student needs;(3) incorporate technological advances and the Internet's appeal to youth;(4) reduce implementation costs by removing the need for teacher training;and (5) include parent and school staff components. If it is found to be effective, IYG-DV could be disseminated to schools across the United States, dramatically reducing TDV and subsequent adult domestic violence on a national level.

Public Health Relevance

Teen dating violence presents a serious public health problem for adolescents, especially young ethnic minorities. This study will determine the short- and long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of a web-based teen dating violence prevention program for ethnic minority middle school youth that incorporates activities at multiple levels of the social-ecological model. It will provide a significant contribution in examining additional avenues for prevention and dissemination to target a major public health challenge.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCE1-DYB (02))
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University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
Schools of Public Health
United States
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