Utilizing Peer Drama as Primary Prevention of Dating Violence Against Adolescent Females
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AbstractPurpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of a dating violence prevention program for high school students. Theoretical Framework: An integrated, ecological framework is used in this study to understand dating violence in teenage girls’ lives. Through this framework, dating violence is understood to occur as a result of complex interactions between situational, personal, and sociocultural factors. Subjects: Approximately 400 male and female students in grades 9-12 from an economically and racially diverse high school in northeastern Ohio attended the program. Methods: Anonymous pre and post-test questionnaires were completed by the students one week before and 2 weeks after the presentation. Multiple strategies were used to present both primary and secondary dating violence prevention messages including displays of various posters in hallways and bulletin boards, a formal prevention program featuring a variety of teaching strategies including a didactic PowerPoint presentation, a panel of experts, and vignettes presented by student peers, and “public service announcements” given by a school administrator during daily announcements. Data were collected that addressed students’ experiences with dating violence as well as their knowledge and perceptions of the phenomena. Statistical methods used to analyze the data included descriptive statistics, Spearman’s Rho, Chi Square, Wilcoxin Signed Rank, and ANOVA. Results: Statistical significance was reached with regards to only one research question. The question ‘How does age affect adolescent females’ perspectives on program evaluation?’ yielded statistically significant findings. The questionnaire item asked about the desirability of having one program for all teens as opposed to having separate programs (F=3.396, df 4,p=.011). Post hoc Tukey HSD indicated that 15 and 17 year old teens significantly differed (p=.026) in their responses with 31 out of 51 teens aged 15 supporting one program as opposed to 11 out of 25 teens aged 17. Conclusions: The overall findings suggest that age does not have a significant affect on adolescent females’ exposure and perspectives related to dating violence, only their preferences in how they want the information presented to them. The findings also provide valuable insight into the pervasiveness of teen violence for all ages of female teen high school students and will be helpful in future program development. Due to the significant differences found in the program evaluation, the findings also suggest that separate programs for adolescent females might be the most desirable to promote peer support and discussion.