Pilot & Feasibility Studies
BACKGROUND: Student-athletes are one subgroup of college students in the USA at risk for dating violence and sexual risk behaviors. Despite this, research on student-athletes' dating behaviors is limited; existing research pertains primarily to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletes and focuses on male student-athletes as perpetrators of dating and sexual violence. While some existing programs aim to reduce dating violence and promote healthy relationships, these programs are education based, and not tailored to the specific strengths and challenges of student-athletes. We therefore designed Supporting Prevention in Relationships for Teams (SPoRT), a novel, four-session prevention intervention for Division III student-athletes of all genders to reduce dating violence and sexual risk behavior by targeting knowledge and skills identified in pilot research, incorporating psychoeducation with techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, bystander intervention, and normative feedback.
METHODS: This study represents stage 1 of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Stage Model for Behavioral Intervention Development, evaluating the feasibility and acceptability of SPoRT. We describe the development, content, and proposed delivery methods for SPoRT and evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of the program using a mixed-methods approach. Thirty college student-athletes (12 men, 18 women) completed questionnaires and participated in focus groups to provide feedback on the program's length, timing, group size and dynamics, content, and suggestions for making the SPoRT prevention intervention more feasible and acceptable.
RESULTS: Our recruitment procedures were successful, and participants rated the program as feasible in terms of delivery methods and logistics. Participants liked that SPoRT was developed based on pilot data collected from student-athletes, brief, and skills based and tailored to athletic team needs. SPoRT was perceived as appropriate and relevant to student-athlete needs in terms of dating violence and sexual risk prevention knowledge and skills. Most participants (63%) rated the program as "excellent" and said they would recommend it to others.
CONCLUSIONS: We found SPoRT to be both feasible and acceptable in terms of content and delivery. Suggested modifications will be incorporated into the SPoRT healthy relationships prevention intervention to be tested in an NIH Stage 1 efficacy trial.
Nicole Jaffe, Meredith C. Jones, & D.J. Angelone. (2023) Development, feasibility, and acceptability of SPoRT: a dating violence and sexual risk prevention intervention for college student‑athletes, Pilot & Feasibility Studies 9:183. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-023-01413-z
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