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PITTSBURGH, PA - April 30, 2013 - Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM), a program that seeks to reduce dating violence and sexual assault, is proven effective to reduce abusive behaviors among male athletes toward their female partners, according to a study that will appear today in the online version of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The year-long evaluation study, 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, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, examined the long-term effectiveness of the program.
The study looked at more than 2,000 male athletes in 16 California high schools from October 2009 to October 2011 who participated in the coach-led program to prevent abuse toward women. Results demonstrated that youth who participated in the program were less likely to support peers' abusive behaviors, and showed a significant relative reduction in abuse perpetration.
"Perpetration of physical, sexual and psychological abuse is unfortunately prevalent in many adolescent relationships," said Dr. Miller. "At the end of the sports season, boys who participated in the program were significantly more likely to stop abusive behaviors among their peers. Now, one year later, we find that the rates of abuse perpetration actually increased among youth who didn't participate, whereas perpetration did not increase among the male athletes whose coaches delivered the program."
Created by national nonprofit Futures Without Violence in collaboration with Dr. Miller, the CBIM program works with coaches to teach their male athletes about building healthy relationships and how to intervene when witnessing disrespectful and abusive behaviors among their peers.
"We've always known that coaches play a pivotal role in shaping young athletes' attitudes about respect and healthy relationships," said Esta Soler, president and founder of Futures Without Violence. "We now have evidence that the program actually stops abuse from happening in the first place."
The program combines discussions of personal responsibility, being a positive bystander (stopping disrespectful behaviors among peers), respectful relationships and preventing technology-based bullying, and leverages the influence of athletic coaches as powerful messengers for violence prevention and male athletes as leaders in their community.
The CBIM materials train coaches to talk with their male athletes about stopping and preventing violence and abuse by using a series of training cards that guide athletes through weekly, 15-minute conversations during the sports season. Lessons focus on respect, non-violence, integrity and leadership.
"The key to this program is respect—teaching players to be aware of how they treat women and how to deal with all people in general," said Mike Alberghini, head football coach at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, CA, a participating school in the study. "The experience has brought us together as a stronger, more responsible group."
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 www.coachescorner.org.
Collaborators with Dr. Miller on the study were: Heather L. McCauley, Sc.D, Sc.M.; Maria Catrina D. Virata, M.P.H.; 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; Brian O'Connor, M.S., Futures Without Violence; Michele R. Decker, Sc.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Jay G. Silverman, Ph.D., University of California San Diego School of Medicine; and WEAVE, Inc., Sacramento, CA.
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About Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Renowned for its outstanding clinical services, research programs and medical education, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has helped establish the standards of excellence in pediatric care. From ambulatory care to transplantation and cardiac care, talented and committed pediatric experts care for infants, children and adolescents who make more than 1 million visits to Children's and its many neighborhood locations each year. Children's also has been named consistently to several elite lists of pediatric health care facilities, including ranking 7th among children's hospitals and schools of medicine (FY 2011) in funding provided by the National Institutes of Health, and is one of 12 pediatric hospitals in the United States named to U.S. News & World Report's Honor Roll of America's "Best Children's Hospitals" for 2012–2013.
About Futures Without Violence
Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund), works to advance the health, stability, education, and security of women and girls, and men and boys worldwide. Through public education campaigns, legislative initiatives, and professional trainings, Futures Without Violence has helped to transform how hospitals, the criminal justice system, and policymakers deal with domestic and dating violence and sexual assault. Among its accomplishments, Futures Without Violence was instrumental in developing the landmark Violence Against Women Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1994 and recently established an international center in the Presidio of San Francisco to promote an end to gender-based violence and child abuse. To learn more, visit www.futureswithoutviolence.org.
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