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An Athletic Coach–Delivered Middle School Gender Violence Prevention Program: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial

NCJ Number
JAMA Pediatric Volume: 174 Issue: 3 Dated: 2020 Pages: 241-249
Elizabeth Miller; Kelley A. Jones; Lisa Ripper; Taylor Paglisotti; Paul Mulbah; Kaleab Z. Abebe
Date Published
9 pages

This article reports on an evaluation of effectiveness of the relationship abuse and sexual violence prevention program, Coaching Boys Into Men, with middle school male athletes; the article lays out the authors’ research methodology, outcomes, and implications.


Adolescent relationship abuse (ARA) and sexual violence (SV) reported among adolescents point to the need for prevention among middle school-age youths. The objective of the research presented here, was to test an athletic coach-delivered relationship abuse and sexual violence prevention program among middle school male athletes. Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) is a prevention program that trains athletic coaches to talk to male athletes about the following: respectful relationship behaviors; promoting more gender-equitable attitudes; and positive bystander intervention when harmful behaviors among peers are witnessed. The research involved an unblinded cluster randomized clinical trial from spring 2015 to fall 2017 at 41 middle schools. The study included 973 male middle school athletes followed up for one year. The primary outcome was change in positive bystander behaviors; secondary outcomes were changes in recognition of what constitutes abusive behavior, intentions to intervene, gender-equitable attitudes, and reduction in recent ARA/SV perpetration at the end of the sports season and at the one-year follow up. Positive bystander behaviors increased at the end of the sports season and at one-year follow-up as did recognition of abuse. At one-year follow-up, among those who ever dated, athletes on teams receiving CBIM had lower odds of reporting recent ARA/SV perpetration. Gender attitudes and intentions to intervene did not differ between study arms. In exploratory intensity-adjusted and per protocol analyses, athletes on teams receiving CBIM were more likely to report positive bystander behaviors and to endorse equitable gender attitudes and less likely to report ARA and sexual harassment perpetration one year later. The authors conclude that an athletic coach-delivered program for middle school male athletes is an effective strategy for reducing relationship abuse among younger adolescents. Publisher Abstract Provided