One-year follow-up of a coach-delivered dating violence prevention program: a cluster randomized controlled trial

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Jul;45(1):108-112. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.03.007.


Background: Perpetration of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse is prevalent in adolescent relationships. One strategy for reducing such violence is to increase the likelihood that youth will intervene when they see peers engaging in disrespectful and abusive behaviors.

Purpose: This 12-month follow-up of a cluster RCT examined the longer-term effectiveness of Coaching Boys Into Men, a dating violence prevention program targeting high school male athletes.

Design: This cluster RCT was conducted from 2009 to 2011. The unit of randomization was the school, and the unit of analysis was the athlete. Data were analyzed in 2012.

Setting/participants: Participants were male athletes in Grades 9-11 (N=1513) participating in athletics in 16 high schools.

Intervention: The intervention consisted of training athletic coaches to integrate violence prevention messages into coaching activities through brief, weekly, scripted discussions with athletes.

Main outcome measures: Primary outcomes were intentions to intervene, recognition of abusive behaviors, and gender-equitable attitudes. Secondary outcomes included bystander behaviors and abuse perpetration. Intervention effects were expressed as adjusted mean between-arm differences in changes in outcomes over time, estimated via regression models for clustered, longitudinal data.

Results: Perpetration of dating violence in the past 3 months was less prevalent among intervention athletes relative to control athletes, resulting in an estimated intervention effect of -0.15 (95% CI=-0.27, -0.03). Intervention athletes also reported lower levels of negative bystander behaviors (i.e., laughing and going along with peers' abusive behaviors) compared to controls (-0.41, 95% CI=-0.72, -0.10). No differences were observed in intentions to intervene (0.04, 95% CI=-0.07, 0.16); gender-equitable attitudes (-0.04, 95% CI=-0.11, 0.04); recognition of abusive behaviors (-0.03, 95% CI=-0.15, 0.09); or positive bystander behaviors (0.04, 95% CI=-0.11, 0.19).

Conclusions: This school athletics-based dating violence prevention program is a promising approach to reduce perpetration and negative bystander behaviors that condone dating violence among male athletes.

Trial registration: This study is registered at NCTO1367704.

Trial registration: NCT01367704.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Courtship
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sports
  • Students / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Violence / prevention & control*

Associated data