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Adapting a Life Skills Application to Address Interpersonal Relationship in College

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Michelle Lynne Munro-Kramer, Rob Stephenson, Yasamin Kusunoki

Between 20-25% of women will experience a completed or attempted rape during their college career; rape is the most frequent violent crime that occurs on campuses.1-2 Nearly 80-90% of college students know the perpetrator, which increases the likelihood that the survivor will not identify the trauma as rape and will not report it.3-4 Many college survivors do not perceive or acknowledge their experiences as rape, because of lack of evidence, the absence of a weapon, or because alcohol and/or drugs were involved.4-5 These characteristics of sexual violence in college contribute to the underestimation, under reporting, under prosecution, and low rates of seeking post-assault services among college survivors.4,6
Prevention of sexual violence occurs at three levels: 1) primary prevention aims to prevent the occurrence, 2) secondary prevention refers to an immediate response after sexual violence has happened, and 3) tertiary prevention is focused on rehabilitation and the long-term responses implemented after sexual violence has occurred.7 There is a strong focus on the primary prevention of sexual violence within college campuses. Much of this has stemmed from victims? frustrations with the way that institutions are handling reports of sexual violence.8 Many of the currently available prevention programs are delivered to freshman students entering college and university campuses and essentially teach potential victims to ?watch out for themselves?. Many campuses also rely on online learning modules to meet the requirements to provide primary prevention education required by the 2014 Violence Against Women Act. Despite the use of online modalities to provide primary prevention there is a lack of evidence on the effectiveness of these programs and the potential that mobile or web-based applications hold for the prevention of sexual violence.
One way to address the holistic needs of university students is through the use of a web-based application focused on life skills. A holistic approach provides an opportunity to recognize college and university students as individuals transitioning into adulthood learning to manage school, work, new relationships, stress, conflict, and their own health for the first time as independent young adults. There is a need for holistic interventions that provide students with the means to address all of the physical, emotional, and social changes they may be experiencing during their transition to young adulthood.

Funding Period: 12/01/2016 to 12/01/2017

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