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Coaching Boys into Men Is Effective Tool in Preventing Teen Dating Violence, Study Finds

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Expert finds that program participants more likely to intervene when confronted with teen dating violence

San Francisco, CA /Pittsburgh, PA, March 26, 2012 - Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM), a program for high schools that seeks to reduce dating violence and sexual assault, is effective in discouraging teen dating violence and abusive behaviors, according to a study that will appear in the April issue of The Journal of Adolescent Health and appearing online March 26.

Created by Futures Without Violence, the CBIM program engages coaches to promote messages of respect and health relationships.

A three year study of more than 2,000 male athletes in 16 California high schools confirmed the positive impact of the program.  The study was led by Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D., chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and associate professor of pediatrics at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine  Dr. Miller conducted the study while a member of the faculty at University of California Davis.

“As schools, parents and students grapple with the problem of teen dating violence, our study findings offer hope that prevention programs can work,” said Dr. Miller. “The high school male athletes whose coaches delivered this easy-to-implement program reported more positive bystander behaviors, meaning that these boys were more likely to say or do something to stop disrespectful and harmful behaviors towards girls that they witnessed among their male peers,”

In the program, high school coaches are trained to use a “Coaches Kit,” a series of training cards that offer key strategies for opening conversations about dating violence and appropriate attitudes toward women. A key component of the 12-week curriculum is teaching young men that even as bystanders they must speak out when witnessing abuse by adults or peers.  

Among the study’s top findings:

  • CBIM participants were significantly more likely to report intervening to stop disrespectful or harmful behaviors among their peers; 

  • CBIM participants were slightly more likely to recognize abusive behaviors than a control group of teens who did not participate in the program; and,

  • Participants also reported less verbal and emotional abuse against a female partner after participating in the CBIM program.

“This study indicates that it is possible to prevent violence before it happens,” said Futures Without Violence Founder and President Esta Soler. “Coaches can be excellent role models who can positively shape young athletes’ attitudes about women and girls and healthy relationships.”

For more information about Coaching Boys Into Men, watch online.

Coaching Boys into Men: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of a Dating Violence Prevention Program” will be published in April’s Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention funds the Coaching Boys into Men program. The Coaching Boys into Men tools are available for free download from Futures Without Violence at

Collaborators on the study were Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D.; Heather L. McCauley, MS; Maria Catrina D. Virata, MPH; Heather A. Anderson, B.S., all of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC; Daniel J. Tancredi, Ph.D., UC Davis School of Medicine and Center for Healthcare Policy and Research; Michele R. Decker, ScD, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Nicholas Stetkevich, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, UC Davis School of Medicine; Ernest W Brown, B.S., of WEAVE, Inc.; Feroz Moideen, J.D., Futures Without Violence; Jay G. Silverman, Ph.D., University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

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