Middle School Effects of the Dating Matters® Comprehensive Teen Dating Violence Prevention Model on Physical Violence, Bullying, and Cyberbullying: a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract

Few comprehensive primary prevention approaches for youth have been evaluated for effects on multiple types of violence. Dating Matters®: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships (Dating Matters) is a comprehensive teen dating violence (TDV) prevention model designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and evaluated using a longitudinal stratified cluster-randomized controlled trial to determine effectiveness for preventing TDV and promoting healthy relationship behaviors among middle school students. In this study, we examine the prevention effects on secondary outcomes, including victimization and perpetration of physical violence, bullying, and cyberbullying. This study examined the effectiveness of Dating Matters compared to a standard-of-care TDV prevention program in 46 middle schools in four high-risk urban communities across the USA. The analytic sample (N = 3301; 53% female; 50% Black, non-Hispanic; and 31% Hispanic) consisted of 6th–8th grade students who had an opportunity for exposure to Dating Matters in all three grades or the standard-of-care in 8th grade only. Results demonstrated that both male and female students attending schools implementing Dating Matters reported 11% less bullying perpetration and 11% less physical violence perpetration than students in comparison schools. Female Dating Matters students reported 9% less cyberbullying victimization and 10% less cyberbullying perpetration relative to the standard-of-care. When compared to an existing evidence-based intervention for TDV, Dating Matters demonstrated protective effects on physical violence, bullying, and cyberbullying for most groups of students. The Dating Matters comprehensive prevention model holds promise for reducing multiple forms of violence among middle school-aged youth. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01672541

Description

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Keywords

Violence Prevention, Bullying, Cyberbullying, Youth Violence, Randomized Controlled Trial, Dating Matters

Citation

Vivolo-Kantor, A.M., Niolon, P.H., Estefan, L.F. et al. Middle School Effects of the Dating Matters® Comprehensive Teen Dating Violence Prevention Model on Physical Violence, Bullying, and Cyberbullying: a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. Prev Sci 22, 151–161 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-019-01071-9

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