An Evaluation of Two Dating Violence Prevention Programs on a College Campus

Kerry Peterson, Phyllis Sharps, Victoria Banyard, Ráchael A. Powers, Catherine Kaukinen, Deborah Gross, Michele R. Decker, Carrie Baatz, Jacquelyn Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Dating violence is a serious and prevalent public health problem that is associated with numerous negative physical and psychological health outcomes, and yet there has been limited evaluation of prevention programs on college campuses. A recent innovation in campus prevention focuses on mobilizing bystanders to take action. To date, bystander programs have mainly been compared with no treatment control groups raising questions about what value is added to dating violence prevention by focusing on bystanders. This study compared a single 90-min bystander education program for dating violence prevention with a traditional awareness education program, as well as with a no education control group. Using a quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test design with follow-up at 2 months, a sample of predominately freshmen college students was randomized to either the bystander (n = 369) or traditional awareness (n = 376) dating violence education program. A non-randomized control group of freshmen students who did not receive any education were also surveyed (n = 224). Students completed measures of attitudes, including rape myth acceptance, bystander efficacy, and intent to help as well as behavioral measures related to bystander action and victimization. Results showed that the bystander education program was more effective at changing attitudes, beliefs, efficacy, intentions, and self-reported behaviors compared with the traditional awareness education program. Both programs were significantly more effective than no education. The findings of this study have important implications for future dating violence prevention educational programming, emphasizing the value of bystander education programs for primary dating violence prevention among college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3630-3655
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • bystander intervention
  • college students
  • dating violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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