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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

African-American Teen Girls Needed To Participate In Focus Groups On Dating Violence

PITTSBURGH, June 6, 2006 — While teenage girls talk to their friends about nearly everything, they still are frequently reluctant to discuss one topic with anyone – abusive dating relationships. If they hide it from their peers when a boyfriend threatens or beats them, these girls probably also will be hesitant to report the abuse to a parent, teacher or health care provider who might be in a position to offer them assistance.

School health providers in Pittsburgh estimate that intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs in about one-third of their female middle school and high school students, and that the incidence is higher in African-American teens. Since instances of IPV are so widely underreported, the number of girls affected actually could be much higher.

Few studies exist that examine IPV in teenage populations, and most that do are more descriptive in nature. Virtually no research, to date, has tested interventions that have the potential to prevent IPV in this age group.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing are looking for African-American teenage girls to participate in a small study that will further the understanding of attitudes toward and perceptions of IPV and explore the feasibility of using an e-mail-based intervention to prevent it.

Girls between the ages of 12 and 18 who are not pregnant are eligible to participate in focus groups where they will discuss IPV. The focus group sessions will be held at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, 3500 Victoria St., on the university’s Oakland campus.

Eight of the focus group participants will be randomly selected to take part in a home-based pilot where they will receive e-mails containing IPV prevention information via a BlackBerry device.

All focus group participants will be compensated for their time, and the eight BlackBerry users will receive additional compensation upon the return of the device.

For more information or to learn if you qualify for this study, call 412-624-3840.

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