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Awarded Grant for Violence Prevention and Violence-Related Injury

Experimentally Testing the Effectiveness of a Campus-based Bystander Intervention

FOA Number: CE10-005 Research Grants for Preventing Violence and Violence Related Injury
Project Period: 8/1/2010 - 7/31/2013
Application/Grant Number: CE001855
Principal Investigator: Mcmahon, Sarah
Rutgers The St Univ of NJ New Brunswick
Research & Sponsored Programs
3 Rutgers Plaza
ASB III, 2nd Floor
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
732.932.7520 x164


Abstract (Official) DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The current application proposes to address research objective #2, Efficacy/Effectiveness research, for sexual violence, area (b). We propose a study that investigates the effectiveness of an innovative, peer education theater model that delivers multi-dosage primary prevention to incoming college students. The proposed study will assess its longitudinal impact on behavioral intent and actual behaviors related to sexual violence and bystander intervention. The intervention under study in the proposal is an innovative, peer education, theater intervention program called SCREAM Theater (Students Challenging Realities and Educating Against Myths) that has demonstrated success in changing attitudes and behaviors related to sexual violence in exploratory studies. The model is supported by the Theory of Planned Behavior and is carefully constructed to address the five step process of becoming a bystander developed originally by Latane and Darley (1970) and more recently updated by Burn (2009). The results of the study will be translated into easily accessible materials to be disseminated to other colleges and universities, including a multi-dose curriculum and evaluation guide. The specific aims of this proposal are to: 1) Determine whether the SCREAM Theater intervention positively impacts students attitudes and behaviors related to sexual violence, including proclivity to perpetrate, both short term and longitudinally; 2) Determine whether the SCREAM Theater intervention positively impacts students' behavioral intentions to intervene as a bystander as well as actual bystander behaviors, both short term and longitudinally; and 3) Identify whether dosage is related to attitudinal and behavioral change. The proposed project will use a quasi-experimental, longitudinal design to determine the impact of a peer education theater intervention (SCREAM Theater) on undergraduate student attitudes and behaviors related to sexual violence and bystander intervention. Students will be assigned to either an experimental group (receiving 3 doses of the intervention) or a comparison group (receiving one dose only) and will be assessed five times over an 18 month period. Out of 4,700 students that attend New Student orientation, we will recruit at least 2,000 students to participate. A total of 700 students will be randomly assigned to a comparison group (receiving 1 dose) and 1,300 assigned to the experimental group (receiving 3 doses). Stratified random sampling procedures will be used and will include oversampling of the moderating variables. The instruments for this proposal are theoretically grounded and have good reliability. The independent variable for this study includes the bystander education received through SCREAMing to Prevent Violence (1 dose or 3 doses). The dependent variables include the three determinants of behavior from the Theory of Planned Behavior (attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control) as well as the actual bystander behavior, proclivity to perpetrate, and past perpetration. We will also include a measure on rape myth acceptance to measure attitudes about sexual violence. The moderating variables for this study includes gender, membership on an athletic team or in a fraternity, knowing someone who had been sexually assaulted, own victimization or participation in an earlier sexual assault prevention program in their community.