This study evaluated the effectiveness of a seven-session, bystander-focused, classroom-delivered curriculum (i.e., Bringing in the Bystander—High School Curriculum [BITB-HSC]) in reducing rates of interpersonal violence among high school students. High schools (N = 26) were randomly assigned to the treatment or control condition. In classrooms in treatment schools, students (n = 1081) completed a baseline survey, participated in the BITB-HSC, and completed an immediate post-test, a short-term post-test (approx. 2 months after intervention), and a long-term post-test (approx. 1 year after intervention). Youth in control schools (n = 1322) completed surveys at similar time points but did not participate in the BITB-HSC. Participants were 15.8 years old on average and largely White (85.1%) and heterosexual (84.5%). Students exposed to the BITB-HSC demonstrated significant short-term changes in victim empathy and bystander barriers/facilitators, and long-term changes in rape myths, media literacy, bystander readiness, and knowledge relative to youth in the control condition. Although the BITB-HSC had little long-term impact on actual bystander behavior, there were reductions in some forms of violence among students in the BITB-HSC condition relative to the control condition. Future research is needed to determine if, for whom, why, and in what contexts (e.g., classroom-based versus school-wide initiatives) bystander-focused violence prevention initiatives reduce violence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Cluster randomized control trial
- Dating violence
- High school students
- Relationship abuse
- Sexual assault