1. 4th R Curriculum

4th R Curriculum

Program Goals/Target Population

The 4th R is an interactive classroom curriculum that aims to reduce youth dating violence by addressing youth violence and bullying, unsafe sexual behavior, and substance use. The program is given to 9th grade high school students in a classroom setting.


Program Activities

The curriculum consists of 21 lessons integrated into existing health and physical education curriculum requirements and is administered in sex-segregated classrooms. It does not require additional class time, scheduling, or human resources. The 21 lessons are composed of three units of seven 75-minute classes. The three units focus on the following topics:


·         Unit 1: Personal safety and injury prevention

·         Unit 2: Healthy growth and sexuality

·         Unit 3: Substance use and abuse


Lessons and activities include teaching youth negotiation, delay, and refusal skills; helping youth define and rehearse responsibilities associated with healthy relationships; and role-playing instructions designed to increase interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Teachers use examples of dating and peer conflicts commonly faced by youth. Detailed lesson plans, video resources, role-playing exercises, rubrics, and handouts are provided for all lessons.


Key Personnel

Teachers with specialization in health and physical education deliver the curriculum. Teachers receive a 6-hour training workshop on teen dating violence and healthy relationships as part of the program.


Program Theory

The program aims to achieve its goals by emphasizing core relationship issues and pressures in early adolescence and by teaching skills to promote safer decision-making with peers and dating partners. The program targets health promotion through capitalizing on youths' interest in learning about lifestyle issues. It also takes a gender-specific approach to dating violence by emphasizing gender-specific patterns and factors and matching activities accordingly; therefore, the curriculum content is slightly different for boys and girls.

Intervention ID

14 to 15


Study 1

Physical Dating Violence

When evaluating results of the 4th R Curriculum, Wolfe and colleagues (2009) found that the rate of physical dating violence (PDV) at follow-up (at the end of grade 11) had increased from 1.1 percent to 8.5 percent for the study sample. PDV was significantly higher for students in the control group versus those in the intervention group (9.8 percent versus 7.4 percent). It should be noted that for the subset of students who were dating in the previous year, the difference between the control and intervention groups was not significant. However, boys in the intervention group were significantly less likely than boys in the control group to engage in dating violence (2.7 percent, compared to 7.1 percent). Girls in both groups showed the same rates of PDV (11.9 percent versus 12 percent). This was also true when the previously dating subsample was analyzed.

Physical Peer Violence

There were no significant differences on physical peer violence between the control and intervention groups (17.1 percent versus 18.4 percent).

Substance Use

There were no significant differences in substance use between the control and intervention groups (47.8 percent versus 52.4 percent).

Condom Use

There were no significant differences in overall condom use between the control and intervention groups (54.1 percent, compared to 55 percent). When broken down by gender, condom use by boys in intervention schools was significantly greater than in the control group (67.9 percent, compared to 58.6 percent). Condom use by partners, however, was significantly less for girls in the intervention group than in the control group (43.9 percent versus 50.7 percent).

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