Up to 25% of women may be sexually assaulted during college, and one-third of college students have experienced physical aggression from dating partners. While most students neither participate in nor condone violence, many respond passively to a campus culture that may tacitly support violence, as evidenced by violent media images, jokes trivializing violence against women, and sexual harassment. Growing awareness that all members of the campus community can play a significant role in ending dating and sexual violence (DV/SV) has led to an increase in violence prevention interventions for college students. However, very few of these programs have been empirically evaluated. A significant barrier to progress in intervention research is the infrastructure required to implement and evaluate interventions across multiple sites. For this project, the intervention will be Green Dot, an innovative primary prevention intervention to reduce DV/SV among college students, which was developed at the University of Kentucky. The intervention consists of one-hour persuasive speeches, followed by a six to either hour bystander intervention training called Students Educating and Empowering to Develop Safety (SEEDS). In addition, we are creating booster sessions that will be provided to all students who have completed SEEDS training to assist with additional skills-building that may be required. As a developmental project, the proposed research will consist of three phases: 1) pilot work to create survey modules, resulting in a questionnaire that contains measures which are standardized across campuses to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention and is a manageable length;2) data collection at UK to streamline data collection procedures when other colleges are brought on;and 3) recruitment of additional implementation and control college sites. The University of Kentucky will operate as the coordinating center for the multi-site evaluation and will continue to serve as the pilot site or data collection and refinement of study methodology. The University of South Carolina has agreed to serve as an implementation site and the University of Cincinnati has agreed to serve as a control site. We will recruit an additional eight colleges (four control and four intervention sites) during the project period. By beginning with this R21 to conduct developmental work and begin problem solving, we can help to ensure the success of subsequent projects. If Green Dot is then determined to be effective across multiple campuses in preventing violence and the associated sequelae of adverse academic, as well as physical and mental health outcomes, experienced by so many college students, then the potential impact of this study is indeed groundbreaking. Additionally, the lessons learned from establishing a multi-site public health intervention trial, with one coordinating center responsible for all data collection via online surveys, has implications for the study of other health issues.
Preventing dating and sexual violence among college students is a public health priority, due to adverse academic and physical and mental health consequences. This study will create the foundation for a large, multi-site evaluation of the violence prevention intervention, Green Dot, which will have a revolutionary impact if Green Dot is ultimately determined to be effective in preventing violence across multiple campuses. Additionally, the lessons learned from establishing a multi-site public health intervention trial, with one coordinating center responsible for all data collection via online surveys, has implications for the study of other health issues.