A review of 140 dating violence interventions found only two programs, Safe Dates (SD) and Shifting Boundaries (SB) to be effective for preventing sexual violence. Although these interventions demonstrate promising outcomes, it is unclear which would be more efficacious and whether they incorporate current youth-specific interrelationships, behaviors and social media. This study examines and analyzes SD and SB interventions using an ecological lens to assess effectiveness as well as the inclusion of youth-specific sexual culture, identity, language, behaviors and social media.
Methods: Using the Context, Input, Process and Product (CIPP) program evaluation model, we qualitatively compare components of SD and SB including curriculum and evaluation design (e.g., RCT). We also compare the effect size of each program to measure the magnitude of the effectiveness. We used Cohen’s d to measure the effect size for mean differences between programs within the pre-post-control-intervention design. Lastly, we use the an ecology model to discuss areas where further incorporation of contemporary youth culture into interventions is warranted.
Results: The results show that the programs share similarities and differences in various areas from theoretical approach to curriculum to evaluation. Effect sizes show that SD (d = -.086) is more efficacious than SB (d = .564) in preventing dating sexual victimization. To our knowledge there is no research that combines contemporary youth culture and dating violence/perpetration. Thus, using the ecology model, we incorporate contemporary youth dating culture into interventions via 4 domains: 1) descriptive elements; 2) situational context; 3) developmental context; and 4) environmental context.
Conclusion: This study may shed light on program aspects that make both SD and SB effective. By adding an ecological approach to examine contemporary youth culture and language, the study offers insight into efforts needed to modernize curriculum content and delivery.