Friends Helping Friends: A Peer-Based Programme in Responding to Dating Violence in U.S.
Amar, Angela Frederick
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Session presented on Saturday, July 26, 2014: Dating violence is a public health issues, affecting young women in the college campus. Despite the importance of dating violence, few prevention programs address peer roles and target community responses to dating violence. Providing education to peers on how to help a friend could increase their confidence to help and in turn, increase reporting to formal sources. As a result, we would provide the support and resources that could mitigate health, academic, and social consequences of interpersonal violence. Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of Friends Helping Friends, a community level education program to teach young women to recognize and intervene to prevent and respond to interpersonal violence. Methods: This was a quasi-experimental study with 101 undergraduate students aged 18-22 years participated in Friends Helping Friends and assigned to either a treatment group or control group. Participants completed pre- and post-test measures of attitudes related to sexual and partner violence and willingness to help. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to examine changes in scores between pre and post-test conditions and to compare the treatment group to the control group. Results: As compared to the control group, treatment group participants reported increased perceived responsibility to help, skills to act as a positive bystander, and intention to help, and decreased rape myth acceptance. Conclusion: Friends Helping Friends shows promise as an effective strategy for older adolescent females in the prevention and response to dating violence.