U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Efficacy of Interventions to Prevent Physical and Sexual Dating Violence Among Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

NCJ Number
JAMA Pediatrics Volume: 176 Issue: 2 Dated: 2021 Pages: 142–149
Date Published
8 pages

This systematic review and meta-analysis examines the efficacy of prevention programs for teen dating violence.


In this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials, the implementation of interventions targeting dating violence among adolescents was associated with a significant reduction in overall physical and sexual violence. However, when examined as separate outcomes, a significant reduction was found for physical violence only. The study found that prevention programs may be effective in reducing physical dating violence among adolescents; unclear evidence on sexual violence outcomes highlights the need for further research studies. Included studies had a randomized design of any type examining the efficacy of an intervention to reduce dating violence among adolescents and provided at least 1 measure of sexual or physical dating violence. Outcomes were pooled using a random-effects model. Subgroup and meta-regression analyses were performed to explore the target population and intervention factors associated with positive outcomes. The odds ratio (OR) was calculated for 3 different outcomes: (1) sexual dating violence, (2) physical dating violence, and (3) composite measures of sexual and physical dating violence. For each outcome, separate analyses were conducted for survivorship and perpetration scores. The authors also combined the scores of physical/sexual violence and perpetration/survivorship of teen dating violence into a single composite overall outcome including all studies. Eighteen trials (22,781 adolescents) were included. Overall, interventions were associated with reduced physical and sexual dating violence. Separate analyses further indicated that this association was significant for physical violence perpetration and survivorship. For sexual violence, the association was not statistically significant. Exploratory subgroup analyses revealed that trials targeting at-risk youth, older adolescents (age >15 years), and trials involving parents in the intervention reported significantly larger effect sizes. Meta-regression analyses did not show any significant associations between intervention effect sizes and length or intensity of the programs. Publication bias was observed, but the adjusted ORs remained significant. Three studies reported iatrogenic associations. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2021