Start Strong Boston: Evaluating Readiness and Feasibility of a Promising Afterschool Teen Dating Violence Intervention Using a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) Framework

Background

Our study evaluated the readiness and feasibility of conducting a large-scale evaluation of Start Strong Boston, a highly regarded community-based intervention that teaches middle school-aged youth about healthy relationships and avoiding dating violence.

We used a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) framework to engage a team of young researchers who had lived in the neighborhoods where the intervention takes place. This approach builds upon the community participatory nature of the intervention itself, which employs high school-aged Peer Leaders to deliver the intervention to younger youth in their own neighborhoods. Peer Researchers were trained in many aspects of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. They helped to design instruments, conducted pilot tests and focus groups, administered surveys to participants, entered data, analyzed data, and participated in dissemination activities, including three who co-authored the publication below.

This study was in collaboration with staff of the Division of Violence Prevention at the Boston Public Health Commission, where Start Strong was developed, and who manages its implementation. Data were collected from participants in the intervention in order to develop a workable evaluation instrument and to determine feasibility of conducting a larger evaluation study. Participant observation data were collected by the Peer Researcher staff to contribute to program improvements and revisions of the Start Strong manual.

Publication: Beatriz ED, Lincoln A, Alder J, Daley N, Simmons F, Ibeh K, Figueroa C, Molnar BE. Evaluation of a teen dating violence prevention intervention among urban middle-school youth using Youth Participatory Action Research: Lessons learned from Start Strong Boston Journal of Family Violence 2018; 33(8): 563-578.

Research Team

Beth Molnar - Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, Northeastern University

Dr. Beth E. Molnar
Principle Investigator
Northeastern University

Alisa Lincoln - Northeastern University

Alisa Lincoln
Co-Investigator
Northeastern University

Elizabeth Beatriz

Elizabeth D. Beatriz
Project Coordinator
Northeastern University

Jess Alder

Jess Alder
Program Director from BPHC
Northeastern University

Sameera Nayak

Sameera Nayak
Program Director

Felicia Simmons

Felician Simmons
Peer Researcher/Project Coordinator
Northeastern University

Karibe Ibeh

Karibe Ibeh
Peer Researcher
Northeastern University

Francesca Fontin

Francesca Fontin
Peer Researcher
Northeastern University

No image available

Emily Rothman
Consultant