This randomized controlled trial evaluated a dating abuse prevention program designed specifically for adolescents exposed to domestic violence, who are at high risk for dating abuse.
Overall, the findings suggest that a dating abuse prevention program designed for adolescents exposed to domestic violence can have important positive effects. Program effects on psychological and physical victimization and psychological and cyber perpetration were moderated by the amount of adolescent exposure to domestic violence; there were significant favorable program effects for adolescents with higher, but not lower levels of exposure to domestic violence. There were no moderated or main effects on sexual violence victimization and perpetration or cyber victimization.
Moms and Teens for Safe Dates consisted of six mailed booklets of dating abuse prevention information and interactive activities. Mothers who had been victims of domestic violence but no longer lived with the abuser delivered the program to their adolescents who had been exposed to the abuse. Mother and adolescent pairs (N = 409) were recruited through community advertising; the adolescents ranged from 12 to 16 years old and 64 percent were female. Mothers and adolescents completed baseline and 6-month follow-up telephone interviews. Booklet completion in the treatment group ranged from 80 percent for the first to 62 percent for the last booklet.
The analyses first tested whether program effects on dating abuse varied by four a priori identified moderators (mother’s psychological health, the amount of adolescent exposure to domestic violence, and adolescent sex and race/ethnicity). Main effects of the program were examined when there were no differential program effects. (Publisher abstract modified)