This is a report on the development, evaluation, and refinement of a web-based intervention called STRONG, whose goal is to reduce the risk of dating violence among middle-school aged boys.
The project's findings indicate that an interactive, online intervention that targets emotion regulation and parent-child communication skills reduces dating violence. STRONG was determined to show promise in reducing dating violence behaviors among early adolescent boys over a 9-month period. STRONG is based on the empirical literature that links deficits in emotion regulation to violent behavior, along with studies which indicate that parental involvement is critical in reducing the risk of dating violence. In Phase I of its development, an expert panel was consulted and an iterative focus group had a series of meetings with a community advisory panel composed of middle school boys and their parents. In Phase 2, STRONG was tested in a small randomized trial to assess feasibility and acceptability (Aim 1), as well as detect preliminary between-group effect sizes (Aim 2) for the purpose of supporting a future large randomized efficacy trial of the program. Project design and methods are described in this report. The trial involved a sample of 59 parent-child dyads randomized to the STRONG intervention and 60 parent-child dyads randomized to the control condition. Dating violence behaviors were measured with the Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationships Inventory (CADRI; Wolfe et al., 2001), which was completed by dating teens, assessing verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual dating abuse perpetration and victimization with a current or recent dating partner. The report also addresses secondary outcomes, intervention mechanisms, procedures and intervention components, control condition, data analysis, and study limitations. 3 tables and 20 references
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