225548 Changing Carolina: Changing a culture of indifference to violence against women

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Christopher Allen, MA , Psychology, University of South Carolina, New York, NY
Suzanne Swan, PhD , Department of Psychology and Women's & Gender Studies Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Keith Davis, PhD , Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
In the U.S., 25% of women may be sexually assaulted during college, and 1 in 3 college students have experienced dating violence. While most students don't condone violence, many respond passively to a campus culture that may tacitly support violence. Growing awareness that all members of the campus community can play a significant role in ending dating and sexual violence (DV/SV) has led to an increase in violence prevention interventions for college students, but very few of these programs have been evaluated. This project evaluated an innovative primary prevention intervention to reduce DV/SV entitled "Changing Carolina", a class that engages students as active change agents in preventing violence. It teaches students to challenge traditional norms for masculinity that promote DV/SV, and to develop the motivation and skills to prevent violence. A regression analysis was conducted with pretest-posttest assessments from 124 participants (59 male, 65 female) who participated in the intervention or comparison groups (other psychology classes). Posttest scores were regressed on treatment condition and pretest. Relative to the comparison group, Changing Carolina participants reported significantly less support of partner violence among their peers at posttest; less endorsement of rape myths; more behavioral intentions to intervene in potentially violent situations; and more efficacy to challenge social norms supporting violence. Male participants also reported significantly less hostile attitudes toward women and less conformity to traditional masculine norms at posttest. To succeed in changing social norms that tolerate violence against women, prevention programs must assist students to develop skills to challenge those norms.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List factors that often inhibit people from challenging social norms that promote violence. Describe an intervention that trains college students to prevent violence on their campus by becoming proactive bystanders who promote non-violent social norms. Assess the efficacy of this intervention.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have my Master's degree in Psychology and have been conducting research on prevention violence in college populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.