Healthy Relationships
Violence Prevention Curriculum

To find out if the program had an effect on students' intentions to take action about dating violence, grade 7 and 9 students were asked to indicate how likely they would be to make five different responses if they were at a party and a boy grabbed his girlfriend's arm to keep her from leaving. This is from the London Family Court Clinic Questionnaire. There were both gender and grade differences on this, with girls and grade 9 students being more likely to respond to the violent situation at both the pretest and the post test. The effect of the intervention was with the grade 9 boys. Control group boys expressed significantly lower likelihood of responding to the violence, and program group boys significantly higher likelihood after the intervention than before. Looking at the individual items, it appeared that the particular action that increased was talking to the abusive boy at a later time. (The Wilcoxin signed ranks test for matched pairs was significant at the .02 level.)

To gauge self efficacy, students at each grade level were asked several questions about whether they thought they could do a number of the specific skills being taught in the "Healthy Relationships" program. Students in grade 7 were very confident of their ability to recognize physical violence and emotional abuse, recognize other emotions that they might be feeling when they were angry, recognize others' emotions from their facial expressions, express their feelings, and settle disagreements (a mean of 9.7 out of a possible score of 12). There was little change in their scores from time 1 to time 2, perhaps because there was not much room for improvement. Grade 8 boys showed the strongest effect of the program on efficacy. Boys and girls who received the intervention, but especially the boys, increased their confidence significantly from pretest to post test. This appears to have been due to the two items about being able to identify stereotypes and hidden messages in magazine advertisements (Wilcoxin test probabilities of 004 and .006 on the individual items for this group). Grade 9 students in the program group increased their confidence that they could tell when their personal boundaries were being crossed (p<.01), although there was not an overall increase in efficacy for them.

There were significant changes in attitudes toward dating violence among the grade 9 students who received the "Healthy Relationships" program. Both boys and girls in this group became less tolerant of girls' physical and sexual violence toward a dating partner (p<.0005 and .01 respectively). These changes did not occur for the control group, where boys became a little more accepting and girls became a little less accepting of female psychological abuse (p<.02, but no overall multivariate effect). There were no significant changes in attitude toward dating violence among the grade 8 students. Grade 7 students had an unexpected change among members of the control group: significantly lower tolerance at time 2 for male physical and male sexual violence. Focus of the attitude changes upon the female violence scales among the program groups more likely reflects the starting points for these attitudes compared to attitudes toward male violence. Both boys and girls expressed significantly more disapproval for boys' violence than for girls' violence. Boys were also more approving of every kind of violence than girls were, especially if it was committed by girls.

There was no change in self reported behaviour associated with the "Healthy Relationships" program at this stage. The expectation was that behaviour changes would be a longer term effect, unlikely to change in the first time period.

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