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J Adolesc Health. 2012 Oct;51(4):349-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.12.029. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

Assessing the effects of Families for Safe Dates, a family-based teen dating abuse prevention program.

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Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599–7400, USA.



To examine the effects of a family-based teen dating abuse prevention program, Families for Safe Dates, primarily on outcomes related to testing the conceptual underpinnings of the program including (1) factors motivating and facilitating caregiver engagement in teen dating abuse prevention activities, and 2) risk factors for teen dating abuse, and secondarily on dating abuse behaviors.


Families were recruited nationwide using listed telephone numbers. Caregivers and teens completed baseline and 3-month follow-up telephone interviews (n = 324). Families randomly allocated to treatment condition received the Families for Safe Dates program including six mailed activity booklets followed-up by health educator telephone calls.


There were significant (<.05) treatment effects in hypothesized directions on most of the factors motivating and facilitating caregiver engagement in teen dating abuse prevention activities including caregiver perceived severity of dating abuse, response efficacy for preventing dating abuse, self-efficacy for talking about dating abuse, knowledge of dating abuse, acceptance of dating abuse, communication skills with the teen, and belief in the importance of involvement in their male (but not female) teen's dating. The latter effect was the only one moderated by sex of the teen. The targeted risk factor affected by the program was teen acceptance of dating abuse. Treatment was also significantly associated with less physical dating abuse victimization.


Modifications to the program are warranted, but overall, the findings are very favorable for the first family-based teen dating abuse prevention program to be evaluated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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