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Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 Nov;62:11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.08.007. Epub 2017 Aug 15.

A cluster-randomized trial of a middle school gender violence prevention program: Design, rationale, and sample characteristics.

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Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, 200 Meyran Ave., Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. Electronic address:
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, 3420 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



High rates of adolescent relationship abuse (ARA) and sexual violence (SV) reported among adolescents point to the need for prevention among middle school-age youth. This is a cluster randomized controlled trial to test an athletic coach-delivered ARA/SV prevention program in 41 middle schools (38 clusters). Trained coaches talk to their male athletes about 1) what constitutes harmful vs. respectful relationship behaviors, 2) dispelling myths that glorify male sexual aggression and promoting more gender-equitable attitudes, and 3) positive bystander intervention when aggressive male behaviors toward females are witnessed.


A total of 973 male athletes (ages 11-14, grades 6-8) are participating. Athletes complete surveys at the beginning and end of sports season (Time 2), and one year later (Time 3). The primary outcome is an increase in positive bystander behaviors (i.e., intervening in peers' disrespectful or harmful behaviors); secondary outcomes are changes in recognition of what constitutes abusive behavior, intentions to intervene, and gender equitable attitudes (Time 2 and 3) as well as reduction in abuse perpetration (Time 3).


Participating schools have a greater proportion of non-White students and students on free/reduced lunch compared to schools that declined participation. Participants' self-reported ethnicities are 54.5% White, 29.0% Black, 1.4% Hispanic and the remainder, multi-racial, other, or not reported.


This study will evaluate the effectiveness of a coach-delivered ARA/SV prevention program for middle school male athletes. Findings will add to the evidence base regarding developmentally appropriate violence prevention programs as well as the role of coaches in adolescent health promotion. Clinical Trials #: NCT02331238.


Adolescent health; Adolescent relationship abuse; Gender violence; Sexual harassment; Sexual violence; Teen dating violence

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