Goals and Objectives: The aim of the proposed study is to develop and refine a web-based intervention that
reduces the risk of dating violence among middle-school aged males. The final intervention, to be used by
parents and adolescents together, is based on the empirical literature linking emotion regulation deficits to
violent behavior as well as studies showing that parental involvement is crucial to offset dating violence risk.
Research has also shown that game playing is the most popular internet activity for early adolescent boys; thus
interactive, web-based games and videos are ideal to engage young males in dating violence programming.
The proposed intervention will be based on content delivered in efficacious, face-to-face interventions for
relationship risk reduction among teens (K23MH086328; R01NR011906).
Klein Buendel, Inc., a company with expertise in technology-based interventions, will partner with Rhode Island
Hospital to develop this program. The intervention will address gender-specific risk factors (e.g., peer
aggression) for dating violence through delivery of six interactive modules that focus on emotion regulation and
parent-teen communication. During development, Klein Buendel and RIH will oversee meetings with parent-son
dyads (Community Advisory Panel) and experts in the field of prevention (Expert Panel) to solicit feedback on
prototypes. Parent-son dyads will then take part in feasibility and acceptability testing. After program
finalization, the intervention will be evaluated through a randomized clinical trial.
Subjects: 146 8th grade boys and their parents will be enrolled (8 dyads for the Community Advisory Panel, 18
dyads for acceptability/feasibility testing, and 120 for the RCT).
Research Design and Methods: 8th grade boys and their parents will be recruited from middle-schools in the
Providence, Rl area. Parents will be eligible to participate in the study and gender of parent will be balanced
across conditions. Dyads will be randomly assigned to either the web-based intervention or waitlist control and
will be assessed at baseline, 3- and 9- months post study.
Analysis: We will test whether the proposed program promotes reductions in boys' attitudes supporting dating
violence and frequency of aggressive acts (DV perpetration and victimization) as well as increases in emotion
regulation skills and parent-adolescent communication.
Products, Reports, and Data Archiving: Findings will have important implications for developing and
disseminating dating violence programming for adolescent boys nationwide. Upon study completion, we will
produce a final substantive report for NIJ on the findings and disseminate the information as conferences,
through scholarly publications, and through collaboration with key stakeholders.