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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Piloting a Family-Based Program for Preventing Adolescent Dating Violence

FOA Number: CE03-024 - Grants for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 09/30/03–09/29/07
Application/Grant Number: 5 R49 CE423115-03
Principal Investigator: Vangie A. Foshee, PhD
University of North Carolina
Health Behavior Health Education
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7440


The applicant proposes to develop and pilot test a family-based program, Families for Safe Dates, that will be designed to address multiple types of youth violence, including dating violence (psychological, physical, and sexual), victimization and perpetration, and violence directed at peers. The content of Families for Safe Dates will draw heavily from Safe Dates, a school-based, dating violence prevention program, and the premises and structure will model a program called Family Matters that was developed and evaluated by the investigators in a national randomized trial, and found to be successful in reducing the prevalence of adolescent substance use. Family Matters consisted of successive mailings of four booklets to families throughout the United States identified by RDD, with each mailing followed two weeks later by a telephone call from a health educator. The applicant will conduct five pilot studies that will support the conduct, if indicated, of a subsequent national randomized efficacy trial that will use the same methods as the efficacy trial of Family Matters. Two pilot tests will be conducted to develop and refine the Families for Safe Dates program. Two pilot tests will be conducted to develop and refine the RDD screening protocols and the telephone interview protocols for adolescents and parents. The final pilot test, the prototype study, will be a replication of the procedures to be used in the future efficacy trial. For the prototype study, 500 households with adolescents 13-15 years of age will be identified through RDD. Baseline telephone interviews will be administered with the adolescent and parent and half of the families will be chosen at random to receive the Families for Safe Dates program. Follow-up telephone interviews will be conducted with parents and adolescents three months after program completion. In addition to being a pilot test of the full set of procedures to be used in the future efficacy trial, the prototype study will have sufficient power for examining the effects of the program on the proposed theoretically-based mediating variables and on several violence outcomes. The pilot studies are essential to adequately prepare for and justify the subsequent national randomized trial with sufficient sample size, study duration, and funding to fully examine the impact of the family program on the prevention of multiple forms of violence.