A Theater Intervention to Prevent Teen Dating Violence for Mexican-American Middle School Students
Format of Original
Journal of Adolescent Health
Original Item ID
To test a theater intervention designed to raise awareness of the dynamics and consequences of teen dating violence (TDV) and to facilitate creation of nonviolent responses to TDV among Latino and Latina adolescents. The intervention was based on Theater of the Oppressed, which advocates the use of theater methods to explore social issues and to allow audiences to experiment with problem-solving, thereby promoting change.
This study used a pretest–posttest, no control group, mixed-measures design to study 66 Mexican-American adolescents (mean age, 13.4 ± 5 years). Two plays containing subtle and overt signs of control and abuse were written and performed. Scripts were based on data from prior studies of TDV among Latino and Latina adolescents. At baseline, we measured sociodemographics, personal safety, and ethnic identity. Pre–post instruments measured acceptance of TDV, confidence to resolve conflicts nonviolently, and intentions to use nonviolent strategies to resolve conflict. We collected qualitative data via essay.
At posttest, participants had less acceptance of TDV (t = −2.08; p < .05), increased confidence to resolve conflicts nonviolently (t = 3.82; p < .001), and higher intentions to use nonviolent strategies (t = 3.35; p = .001). We analyzed 20 essays. Qualitative results provided context for understanding participants' changes in attitude, confidence, and nonviolent behavioral intentions.
This adaptation of Theater of the Oppressed was an effective way to interact with Latino adolescents. In a safe setting, participants vicariously experienced TDV, which facilitated self-reflection and cognitive rehearsal strategies to respond nonviolently to TDV.