Adolescents exposed to domestic violence are at increased risk of dating abuse, yet no evaluated dating abuse prevention programs have been designed specifically for this high-risk population. This article describes the process of adapting Families for Safe Dates (FSD), an evidenced-based universal dating abuse prevention program, to this high-risk population, including conducting 12 focus groups and 107 interviews with the target audience.
FSD includes six booklets of dating abuse prevention information, and activities for parents and adolescents to do together at home. The current study adapted FSD for mothers who were victims of domestic violence, but who no longer lived with the abuser, to use with their adolescents who had been exposed to the violence. Through the adaptation process, the study learned that families liked the program structure and valued being offered the program and that some of the initial assumptions about this population were incorrect. The study identified practices and beliefs of mother victims and attributes of these adolescents that might increase their risk of dating abuse that had not previously considered. In addition, researchers learned that some of the content of the original program generated negative family interactions for some. The findings demonstrate the utility of using a careful process to adapt evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to cultural sub-groups, particularly the importance of obtaining feedback on the program from the target audience. Others can follow this process to adapt EBIs to groups other than the ones for which the original EBI was designed. (Publisher abstract modified)