"Like a family but better because you can actually trust each other": the Expect Respect dating violence prevention program for at-risk youth

Health Promotion Practice
Barbara BallBarri Rosenbluth


Expect Respect, a teen dating violence prevention program, was among four programs selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to participate in an empowerment evaluation project. As one aspect of this project, a qualitative study was designed to investigate the effects of Expect Respect support groups for at-risk youth. The goal was to understand the "how and why" of the program's impact on participants. Group interviews were conducted with five boys' and five girls' support groups after completion of the program. Settings included public middle and high schools and alternative schools in juvenile detention. Participants were asked to describe significant learning experiences in support groups as well as changes in their relationships resulting from program participation. Youths across all groups reported learning new skills including improved communication, anger control, and alternatives to violence. They reported increased knowledge about healthy relationships and warning signs of dating violence and expanded awareness of their own and others' abusive behaviors. Changed relationship norms were uniquely expressed by a boys' group in juvenile detention. Findings indicate that the experience of emotional safety ...Continue Reading


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