Coaching Boys into Men a Proven Strategy to Prevent Violence

Coaching Boys into Men a Proven Strategy to Prevent Violence

With all the disturbing news surrounding the prevalence of rape culture in the United States, we are pleased to see some good news about a proven strategy to help young people build healthy, respectful, and non-violent relationships. A study published online yesterday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that our program Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM) is proven effective to reduce abusive behaviors among male athletes who have participated in the program.

“The key to this program is respect—teaching players to be aware of how they treat women and how to deal with all people in general,” said Mike Alberghini, head football coach at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, CA, a participating school in the study. “The experience has brought us together as a stronger, more responsible group.”

CBIM equips high school athletic coaches to talk with their male athletes about the importance of building healthy and respectful relationships. Administered over the course of a typical athletic season, the CBIM curriculum is easily integrated into coaches’ schedules. The curriculum guides coaches on how to build character and promote positive bystander behavior (skills to interrupt peers’ abusive behaviors) in young men through teamwork, sportsmanship, integrity, and respect.

In a randomized controlled trial conducted in 16 high schools in Sacramento, CA with over 2000 athletes and 170 coaches, at the end of the sports season, the athletes who participated in CBIM (compared to athletes receiving regular coaching) reported greater intentions to intervene when witnessing abusive or disrespectful behavior; increased recognition of what constitutes abusive behaviors; and more frequent reports of actually intervening as positive bystanders when witnessing peers’ abusive behaviors.

In the one year follow up study released yesterday, the male athletes who participated in CBIM reported less abuse perpetration and fewer behaviors that support or condone violence among their peers compared to athletes in the comparison group. In fact, the athletes who did not receive CBIM actually showed an increase in abuse perpetration during the course of the year and also reported more instances when they laughed or went along with peers’ disrespectful or harmful behaviors.

Stated another way, CBIM has been found to actually decrease abuse perpetration among high school athletes. We know that young people are being exposed to all kinds of influences (both good and bad) during the formative years of adolescence. CBIM represents a chance to foster a different kind of culture in school communities – one that values respect, integrity, and non-violence over disrespect and abuse.

Futures Without Violence is committed to growing CBIM nationally – bringing the program to coaches from Juneau, AK to Portland, ME and San Francisco, CA. For more information on how you can bring this evidence-based violence prevention program to your community, visit www.CoachesCorner.org.

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