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The Effects of a Health Care-Based Brief Intervention on Dating Abuse Perpetration: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

NCJ Number
Prevention Science Dated: 2019
Date Published

Since dating abuse (DA) is prevalent and consequential, yet there are no evidence-based interventions for the health care setting that prevent perpetration, the current study’s purpose was to test a one-session brief motivational interview-style intervention to decrease DA perpetration.


The study conducted a two-arm RCT of the Real Talk intervention with follow-up at 3 and 6 months. Participants were 172 youth ages 15–19 years old, recruited from the pediatric emergency department or outpatient care services of an urban hospital in the USA in 2014–2017. The primary outcome was change in self-reported DA perpetration, including subtypes of DA such as physical, sexual, psychological, and cyber DA. Youth in both intervention and control arms reduced DA perpetration over time. GEE models indicated no overall intervention effects for any, physical, sexual, or psychological DA. There were overall effects for cyber DA (RR 0.49, 95 percent CI 0.27, 0.87). There were also effects at 3 months for psychological DA (RR 0.24, 95 percent CI 0.06, 0.93) and cyber DA (RR 0.39, 95 percent CI 0.19, 0.79). Analyses stratified by gender also found overall effects for males for any DA (RR 0.20, 95 percent CI 0.07, 0.55), physical DA (RR 0.30, 95 percent CI 0.10, 0.89), and cyber DA (RR 0.04, 95 percent CI 0.01, 0.27). For males, intervention effects on any DA persisted to 6 months (RR 0.13, 95 percent CI 0.02, 1.01). This health care-based one-session DA intervention is a potentially promising approach to reduce DA perpetration among adolescents. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019