Evaluating a gender transformative violence prevention program for middle school boys: A pilot study

Victoria L. Banyard, Katie M. Edwards, Andrew J. Rizzo, Matt Theodores, Ryan Tardiff, Katherine Lee, Patricia Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


While a large and growing evidence base exists for empirically supported treatment models for youth who have experienced trauma, we know far less about how to prevent violence exposure or re-exposure. Internationally, one innovation in promoting healthy development and reducing violence involved working with boys to help develop healthy expressions of masculinity– including attitudes about masculinity, positive emotional coping skills, and healthy relationship behaviors (e.g., helping friends, forming respectful dating interactions). The current study was a pilot evaluation of a new prevention program for boys in middle school in the United States. A quasi-experimental design was used and 292 boys in grades 6th to 8th across four schools in a predominantly White New England state took surveys at two time points, three months apart. We used propensity score matching to select a matched subsample for analyses resulting in a sample of 144 for analyses (72 in the treatment and 72 in the control group). Findings suggest that the program improved attitudes related to use of coercion and violence in relationships. All boys improved on measures of gender equality in relationships and perceptions of male power. Findings also revealed that while the program is designed for universal or primary violence prevention, many boys reported being the victim of peer bullying and harassment prior to being part of this program. The program's focus on healthy masculinity may serve both a primary and secondary prevention function for middle school boys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Dating violence
  • Healthy masculinity
  • Sexual violence
  • Violence prevention


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