Methods: Seventh and 8th grade boys were recruited, with a parent (90% mothers), from six urban middle schools in the Providence, RI area (n=119 dyads). Dyads were randomized to either STRONG (n=59) or a waitlist (n=60). STRONG consists of 6 online modules comprised of 4-6 activities (games, videos, etc.) targeting three primary constructs: knowledge, emotion regulation, and communication. Families completed STRONG at their son’s school, at home, or in the community (e.g., public library). Outcomes were assessed at 3- and 9-month follow-ups.
Results: In a completer analyses (n=108/119), controlling for dating status at baseline, results suggest that those randomized to the waitlist were nearly twice as likely at 3-months (OR=1.92 [0.43-8.60]) and nearly 7 times as likely at 9-months (OR=6.76 [0.66-69.59]) to endorse any form of DV perpetration (physical, sexual, verbal/emotional) on the Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationships Inventory (CADRI), when compared to STRONG families. Further, STRONG had positive effects on parents’ attitudes toward DV at both 3- (d=.19) and 9-months (d= .26). Teen attitudes toward dealing with DV also showed positive differences at both 3- (d=.19) and 9-months (d= .29) compared to waitlist. STRONG was further associated with increased discussion of critical relationship topics from both parent and teen perspectives, greater teen reports of emotional awareness and short-term regulation skills (small to medium effect sizes).
Conclusions: Pilot outcomes indicate that an online DV prevention program designed to engage early adolescent boys and parents is both acceptable and engaging. Further, STRONG had a positive impact on reducing DV behaviors that were maintained over time and demonstrated positive impact on theory-driven mediators.