Lessons Learned in Evaluating a Multisite, Comprehensive Teen Dating Violence Prevention Strategy: Design and Challenges of the Evaluation of Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships.

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Niolon, Phyllis Holditch. Taylor, Bruce G. Latzman, Natasha E. Vivolo-Kantor, Alana M. Valle, Linda Anna. Tharp, Andra T.
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This paper describes the multisite, longitudinal cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) design of the evaluation of the Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Relationships initiative, and discusses challenges faced in conducting this evaluation. Method: Health departments in 4 communities are partnering with middle schools in high-risk, urban communities to implement 2 models of teen dating violence (TDV) prevention over 4 years. Schools were randomized to receive either the Dating Matters comprehensive strategy or the 'standard of care' strategy (an existing, evidence-based TDV prevention curriculum). Our design permits comparison of the relative effectiveness of the comprehensive and standard of care strategies. Multiple cohorts of students from 46 middle schools are surveyed in middle school and high school, and parents and educators from participating schools are also surveyed. (Author abstract)