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Group-Based Dating Violence Interventions for High-Risk Youth

Date Published
February 12, 2014

Adolescents who are maltreated and become involved in the child welfare system are at risk for being revictimized by romantic partners.[1] To better understand how to prevent revictimization among this high-risk group, NIJ funded a study to evaluate the effectiveness of two prevention curriculums. The study focused on girls because they sometimes face more serious consequences of dating violence (e.g., injuries, pregnancy) than boys do.[2],[3]

Participants included 176 adolescent girls involved in child welfare services. The girls were assigned randomly to receive one of two curriculums:

  • A group of 67 girls received a social learning/feminist curriculum designed to help girls develop healthy relational skills, understand power dynamics and understand societal pressures that can lead to violence.
  • A group of 67 girls participated in a risk detection/executive functioning curriculum designed to improve their ability to recognize and maintain attention to environmental danger cues, recognize different emotions and know how to respond in risky relational situations.

A third group of 42 girls were enrolled in the study but did not participate in a curriculum intervention.

Overall, the girls reported positive experiences about participating in a curriculum. The study found no significant differences in revictimization rates for girls who completed the social learning/feminist curriculum compared with those who completed the risk detection/executive functioning curriculum. In addition, compared with girls who did not participate in a curriculum, the odds of not being revictimized (sexually or physically) were two to five times greater for girls who received the risk detection/executive functioning or social learning curriculum.

The study suggests that high-risk girls can successfully participate in and benefit from relational programming.

Read an abstract and access the final report Preventing Revictimization in Teen Dating Relationships.

Date Published: February 12, 2014