Dr. Ann L. Coker was awarded a research grant to evaluate the longer-term impact of her project, “Green Dot Across the Bluegrass”, an active bystanding-based randomized intervention trial in 26 high school across Kentucky. The study followed 26 Kentucky high schools over five years. Half of the schools were assigned to receive the Green Dot intervention, with the others serving as the study's control group. The “Green Dot Project”, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, was designed to reduce sexual and dating violence in high school students across Kentucky. The Green Dot project is further explained by viewing the short video at: http://vimeo.com/23589940.

The project was funded for five years by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As co-principal investigator, a role she shared with Dr. Diane Follingstad of the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Coker and her colleagues evaluated the question, “Does Green Dot continue to have an effect on reducing violence among students with Green Dot relative training compared with those without this training?" This project also explored differences in violence rates among high school seniors as they became adults. This project was unique because students were followed independent of whether they did or did not attend college. This prospective cohort was built upon a large population-based and promising primary prevention intervention, Green Dot, designed to reduce partner and sexual violence among high school students and provided an important test of the longer-term efficacy of this program into young adulthood.

Individually following this cohort of seniors represented a significant value-added and time-sensitive opportunity because the full implementation of Green Dot began in late 2011. The interventions were implemented in two phases. In phase 1, rape crisis educators delivered Green Dot speeches to all students in the intervention schools. In phase 2, educators implemented intensive bystander training. This training was conducted in smaller groups by high school students perceived as leaders by their peers (about 12-15 percent of the student body). 

Each spring from 2010 to 2014, students at each school completed anonymous surveys to measure the frequency of violence they personally experienced, termed “victimization,” as well as the frequency of violence they personally inflicted, termed “perpetration.” All students, in both intervention and control schools, received hotline numbers and website information. 

A total of 89,707 surveys were completed over the five-year period and researchers compared survey-reported data before program implementation with rates from 2010-2014. Regarding sexual violence victimization, rates were 12 to 13 percent lower in the intervention versus control schools in years three and four, respectively. This translates to 120 fewer sexually violent events in year three, and 88 fewer in year four, indicating that sufficient time is required to see the ultimate effect of the training on violent behaviors.

For more information about the research and the outcome, please review the published study here.