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Effects of a Middle School Social-Emotional Learning Program on Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, and Substance Use in High School

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $662,993)

The purpose of this research project is to follow an existing middle school sample (part of a bullying and sexual violence prevention RCT using the Second Step program) into 5 high schools in Illinois, allowing the assessment of correspondence between trajectories in youth aggression and substance use among teens. While research has documented that substance use is linked to other types of aggressive behavior, such as bullying, aggression, and sexual harassment, there remains a dearth of knowledge regarding the extent to which substance use facilitates or amplifies patterns of teen dating aggression. The proposed study will leverage an existing RCT of The Second Step anti-bullying program, which was implemented when the sample of students was in middle school, by measuring related aggressive behaviors (e.g., sexual aggression) during the high school years. Approximately 1,200 students from 5 high schools in Illinois (from 15 of the original 36 middle schools; approximately one third Hispanic, one fourth African American) will complete measures across the three year study. Specific aims are to determine whether students who were part of the intervention group in a randomized control trial of Second Step in middle school demonstrated reductions in youth aggression, sexual violence, and substance use, and teen dating violence when in high school; to evaluate Second Step program effects on (2a) trajectories of bullying, victimization, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and teen dating violence in high school, (2b) the relations among growth in aggression and substance use, and (2c) whether substance use moderates links in the Bully-Sexual Violence Pathway; to examine mediators of Second Step effects on reductions in aggression, bullying perpetration, victimization, sexual violence, dating violence and substance use. Hypotheses will be tested using nested random coefficients analysis (RCA). ca/ncf
Date Created: September 11, 2013