• Article

A critical review of interventions for the primary prevention of perpetration of partner violence

There is growing consensus that preventing partner violence requires interventions that begin before partner violence begins. In recent years, a number of evaluations of primary prevention programs targeting partner violence have been published. This article presents a systematic review of recent interventions for primary prevention of partner violence. A total of 11 programs met inclusion criteria for the review. All 11 studies used some combination of feminist theory and social learning theory as a basis for the intervention. All targeted middle- or high-school aged students, and all but one were set in a school setting and were universal interventions (i.e., were not targeted to an at risk group). Interventions tended to be brief, with only two using interventions totaling more than 5 h in duration. Although a majority of studies were randomized trials, study quality was generally poor due to relatively short follow-up periods, high attrition rates, and poor measurement. Of the four studies that measured behavior, two found a positive intervention impact. Those two studies had the most comprehensive interventions, using both individual-level curricula and other community-based interventions. Both also employed rigorous designs. Conclusions about the overall efficacy of dating violence interventions are premature, but such programs are promising. We discuss recommendations regarding the content and evaluation of dating violence prevention programs.


Whitaker, D. J., Morrison, S., Lindquist, C., Hawkins, S. R., O'Neil, J. A., Nesius, A., ... Reese, LR. (2006). A critical review of interventions for the primary prevention of perpetration of partner violence. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11(2), 151-166. DOI: 10.1016/j.avb.2005.07.007

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