A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Interventions Aimed to Prevent or Reduce Violence in Teen Dating Relationships


Published in:
Review of Education Research
February 18, 2016

Lisa De La Rue, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Joshua R. Polanin, Development Services Group
Dorothy L. Espelage, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Therese D. Pigott, Loyola University Chicago


The incidence of violence in dating relationships has a significant impact on young people, including decreased mental and physical health. This review is the first to provide a quantitative synthesis of empirical evaluations of school-based programs implemented in middle and high schools that sought to prevent or reduce incidents of dating violence. After a systematic search and screening procedure, a meta-analysis of 23 studies was used to examine the effects of school-based programs. Results indicated school-based programs influence dating violence knowledge (g = 0 2. , 2 95% confidence interval [0.05, 0.39]) and attitudes (g = 0 1. , 4 95% confidence interval [0.10, 0.19]); however, to date, the results for dating violence perpetration and victimization indicate programs are not affecting these behaviors to a significant extent. The results of this review are encouraging, but they also highlight the need for modifications to dating violence prevention programs including the incorporation of skill-building components and a need to address the role of bystanders.

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