Online Program

Evaluation of a College-Based Bystander Behavior Intervention to Reduce Dating Violence

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Amanda Borsky, DrPH, Health Policy and Research, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC
Karen A. McDonnell, PhD, Prevention and Community Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Monique Turner, PhD, Department of Prevention and Community Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, Washington, DC
Rajiv Rimal, PhD, Department of Prevention & Community Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Bystander interventions aim to reduce violence by encouraging individuals to intervene in a safe and effective manner when they hear or see circumstances that could lead to violence.  This study sought to assess the impact of a bystander intervention to reduce dating violence on a college campus.

Using a quasi-experimental design, student participants were drawn from two colleges in Virginia. The intervention group (n=329), all in one college, participated in a bystander behavior intervention to reduce dating violence.  The intervention included (1) a 30-minute presentation at the new student orientation about dating violence, including sexual assault, and bystander behaviors to prevent dating violence, and (2) a 1-week long social marketing campaign, the Red Flag Campaign.  Comparison group comprised students (N=328) from a similar college without such an intervention. Both groups completed a survey before and after the intervention. A difference-in-difference approach was used to examine the change in self-reported behaviors.

Results showed a significant increase in bystander behaviors before and after the intervention, after accounting for changes in the comparison group over the same time period. After the intervention, students reported an increase of 1.41 more bystander behaviors (p=0.04) than prior to the intervention. No significant changes were found for bystander intentions, self-efficacy, social norms, or attitudes. 

The White House has recognized bystander interventions as an effective method for preventing dating violence. Prior research has primarily examined bystander behaviors to prevent sexual assault; therefore, these findings will help inform future programs targeting prevention of broader types of dating violence.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Assess the impact of a bystander intervention on bystander behaviors and intent, attitudes, social norms, and self-efficacy on a college campus.

Keyword(s): Violence & Injury Prevention, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the project director and task lead on multiple federally funded contracts and grants. My DrPH work focused on violence prevention and program evaluation. My dissertation focused on a program evaluation of a bystander intervention.
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.