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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Preventing Violence against Women: A Web-based Approach

FOA Number:CE06-004: Grants for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 9/1/2006 – 8/31/2009
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000892-01
Principal Investigator: Salazar, Laura F.
Emory University
Rollins School of Public Health
1784 N. Decatur Road, Suite 510
Atlanta, GA 30322


Violence against women is a serious public health problem, young women are disproportionately assaulted or raped by men indicating a need for effective and innovative prevention programs. A newly emerging trend in the violence against women (VAW) prevention field is the design of programs that move beyond targeting individual characteristics only or male perpetrators only by addressing the broader context in which violence against women occurs. This type of environmental approach acknowledges that the vast majority of young men does not engage in violence, but rather comprises a culture where normative influences contribute to the victimization of women. The proposed study will seek to develop and test an innovative prevention program designed to have an impact on VAW by targeting young men and focusing on affecting personal as well as environmental influences. The program will be guided by empirical research and social cognitive theory and will incorporate a social norms approach. Specifically, the program will attempt to dispel misperceptions regarding normative beliefs and behaviors related to VAW while enhancing the knowledge and skills necessary for engaging in behaviors that reduce risk for women. The program will be adapted for a web-based modality. There are two primary goals; (1) to prevent psychologically, physically, and sexually abusive behaviors toward women, and (2) to increase the "intervening" behaviors that reduce risk for VAW perpetration (e.g., express disapproval when a peer is verbally disparaging toward women; attempt to stop a peer who tries to be coercive/abusive). These primary goals will be achieved by affecting theoretically and empirically derived mediators such as: correcting misperceptions in normative beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, increasing knowledge of the elements constituting informed consent to have sex, increasing knowledge of legal definitions of assault, enhancing communication skills, and increasing empathy for female victims. The program will incorporate web-based activities designed to modify these theoretical and empirical constructs. The program will be tested for its efficacy by using a randomized controlled design implemented among a randomly selected sample of 680 male college students. Study outcomes to be assessed will be the psychological, physical, and sexual perpetration of women and intervening behaviors. These outcomes will be assessed via web-administered interviews at baseline, post intervention, and at 6 months.