The purposes of the proposed research are to 1) revise an existing parent-based intervention to prevent dating abuse in 12 to 15 year old teens exposed to domestic violence (Aim 1) and 2) conduct a randomized trial to pilot test the procedures that would be used in a future larger randomized trial to test program efficacy (Aim 2). The intervention will be designed to be implemented by mothers who are victims of domestic violence and are identified through the North Carolina court system because they have obtained a domestic violence protection order. Development of Moms for Safe Dates, the proposed intervention, will involve formative research to adapt an already developed, theory-based, rigorously evaluated adolescent dating violence prevention program, Families for Safe Dates, for this highly vulnerable population of youth. Like Families for Safe Dates, Moms for Safe Dates will consist of six booklets mailed to study mothers, followed by health educator telephone calls two weeks after each mailing.
To address Aim 1 the research team will recruit 32 women and their 12 to 15 year old adolescents through courthouse-recruitment procedures that were used in a recent study conducted by co-investigators to participate in three focus groups to provide feedback on program booklets. To address Aim 2, the research team will recruit 50 mothers and their 12 to 15 year old adolescents, through the same courthouse-recruitment procedures, to participate in a randomized trial. Mothers and adolescents will each complete a 25-minute baseline telephone interview, half the families will be randomly allocated to receive Moms for Safe Dates, and mothers and adolescents will complete another 25-minute telephone interview three months after treatment families complete the program. The conduct of the pilot randomized trial will allow for piloting of all the procedures that would be used in a future efficacy trial and to obtain estimates of participation and retention rates. The study is innovative in that it will be laying the groundwork for the first randomized trial of a family-based program for preventing dating abuse among adolescents exposed to domestic violence and it uses a unique approach to recruitment.