We present findings from a within-groups evaluation of a gender-transformative healthy relationships program for adolescent boys, the WiseGuyz program. WiseGuyz is a community-facilitated program for Grade 9 boys that aims to improve mental and sexual health and reduce male-perpetrated violence by deconstructing traditional masculine gender role norms. We collected quantitative outcome data from 305 boys (54.4% boys of color) who were participating in the program in a Western Canadian province. Friendship quality was assessed using Furman and Buhrmester’s Network of Relationships Inventory – Relationship Quality Version. Scores are averaged to create a total friendship closeness score (range, 1-5), as well as sub-scale scores for each underlying domain (companionship, intimate disclosure, satisfaction, emotional support and approval). Data were analyzed using a three-level hierarchical linear model, controlling for dating status and age.
Data demonstrated that the program had a specific protective effect for boys of color in our sample, such that these boys reported significantly greater increases in friendship closeness across the program year, as compared to White boys (b=0.27, p=.007). This overall effect was driven by positive changes in four of the five sub-domains. We will discuss implications of findings for promoting health equity through prevention science.