Love Notes (for ages 14-24)

Developers
Marline Pearson, MA
Published by The Dibble Institute
Program Summary
Love Notes is a comprehensive healthy relationship education curriculum that teaches adolescents and young adults (14–24) how to build healthy romantic relationships, prevent dating violence, and improve impulse control. The program is designed to build young people's skills for cultivating healthy relationships, selves, and sexual behaviors: planning and pacing relationships and sex, self-efficacy and resilience around relationships, proven communication skills, and understanding how family formation impacts children. Love Notes consists of 13 one-hour lessons on decision making, communication, and sexual and overall safety. The program can be delivered in multiple settings, such as schools, community-based organizations, faith-based agencies, community centers, and social service agencies.
Intended Population
Love Notes was designed for older youth and young adults (14-24) who are at-risk of an unplanned pregnancy or already pregnant or parenting. It was evaluated with youth between the ages of 14 and 19 years who had never been pregnant or caused a pregnancy.
Program Setting

Love Notes was designed to be delivered in a variety of settings including schools, community-based organizations, faith-based agencies, community centers, social service agencies, and workforce development programs. Love Notes was evaluated in community-based organizations.

Contact and Availability Information
For curriculum, materials, and pricing information, please contact:
The Dibble Institute at https://www.dibbleinstitute.org/lovenotes  
 
Additional contact information:
The Dibble Institute
P. O. Box 7881
Berkeley, CA 94707-0881 www.DibbleInstitute.org
RelationshipSkills@DibbleInstitute.org
Phone: 1-800-695-7975
Fax: 1-800-695-7975
Sample of Curriculum Available for Review Prior to Purchase
Yes
Languages Available
English and Spanish
Monitoring and Evaluation Tools
Monitoring and evaluation tools available
Yes
Monitoring and evaluation tool usage required
No
Information about available monitoring and evaluation tools (if applicable)

Love Notes includes fidelity aids and checklists with the Evidence-Based Program (EBP) Model Manual for Love Notes. These include an annotated slide deck for the instructor, observational fidelity tools for coaches and evaluators, facilitator quality measures, a participant reaction questionnaire, questionnaires on participants’ perceptions of the facilitator and group cohesion, and a Love Notes knowledge test. Furthermore, upon request, The Dibble Institute can offer suggested related scales that could be used as part of a survey (such as measures to assess attitudinal and behavioral outcomes regarding sex, pregnancy, relationship quality, communication, conflict, control, violence, and intentions, etc.).

Program Core Components

Last updated in 2023

The data presented on this page reflects responses from the program’s developer or distributor to a program component checklist that asked them to report on the individual components within their TPP program. The same program component checklist was sent to the developer or distributor of every active TPP program with evidence of effectiveness. The program component table provides data on seven types of program components including content, delivery mechanism, dosage, staffing, format, environment, and intended population characteristics; whether the component was present or optional in the program; whether the component is considered to be core to the program; and the lesson number or activity where the component can be found in the program. For more details, refer to the FAQ.

Category Component Core Component Component present Notes Lesson number(s) / activities where present
Content Graduating from high school Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 1 Journal p. 1, Lesson 8 pgs. 183-190, Lesson 13 Journal pgs. 50 & 55 Success Plans
Content Anatomy/physiology No No Lesson 12, pgs. 323-326, video
Content Other
Content Volunteering/civic engagement No
Content Identity development Yes Yes (both versions) Lessons 1 pgs. 10-11 and Journal pgs. 1&2. Lesson 2 & 3 - entire lesson. Journal pgs. 3 - 13, Lesson 5 Journal pgs. 15-16.
Content Social support/capital Yes Yes (both versions) This is especially emphasized through the Trusted Adult Connection activities of every lesson
Content Social influence/actual vs. perceived social norms Yes Yes (current version) Lesson 11 entire lesson
Content Social competence Yes Yes (both versions) Lessons 9 & 10 on communication and conflict management
Content Parenting skills No
Content Normative beliefs No
Content Leadership No
Content Gender roles Yes Yes (both versions) The entire program does not assume any particular behaviors or attitudes must be considered appropriate or acceptable based on a person's biological or perceived sex. Love Notes assumes equality, respect and dignity for all young people however they identify. Throughout the program
Content Gender identity No
Content Cultural values Optional According to need and population served, Love Notes has been adapted with specific cultural values such as Pacific Islander, and Native American populations, The developer has worked with organizations of specific cultures to adapt or add examples, images, media and specific cultural values and content.
Content Connections with trusted adults Yes Yes (both versions) Every lesson has a highly engaging Trusted Adult Connection activity.
Content Conflict resolution/social problem solving Yes Yes (both versions) Lessons 9 and 10 in their entirety & Journal pgs.31-37. Also Lesson 5, pgs. 89-90 & Journal p.16
Content Communication skills Yes Yes (both versions) Lessons 9 and 10 in their entirely contain a robust set of communication, self-regulation and conflict management skills.
Content Child development No Yes (current version) Lesson 13 pgs. 4141-416. Supplemental material (not delivered in EBP) The early years : pre-natal, attachment, attunement, early brain development, early socialization.
Content Spirituality No
Content Boundary setting/refusal skills Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 4 pgs. 60-70, Lesson 6 pgs. 119-120 & Journal pgs.19-20, Lesson 7 pgs. 139-140, 156-157, 158-159 & Journal pgs. 21-22 Lesson 11 pgs. 281-288 and journal pgs. 40, and especially pgs. 42-43, Lesson 12 Supplemental refusal skills and role-plays on pgs. 354-356.
Content Substance use cessation No No
Content Substance use - Other drugs No Yes (current version) Marijuana & alcohol given greatest emphasis. Lesson 12 pgs. 337-339
Content Substance use - Alcohol Yes Yes (both versions) Pointed out in evaluated version and strengthened in current version - especially as it relates to sexual behaviors and decision-making Lesson 12 pgs. 337-339
Content Substance use - Abstinence No
Content Brain development and substance use No Yes (current version) Lesson 12 pgs. 337-339
Content Vocational/skills training Yes Yes (both versions) Other technical training, apprenticeships, military training are emphasized along with college Lesson 1 initial goal setting-see Journal p. 1, Lesson 8 pgs. 183-190 and Journal pgs. 25-27, Lesson 13 Journal p. 50.
Content Supplemental academic services No
Content School engagement No
Content College preparation No
Content Alternative schooling No
Content Self-regulation Yes Yes (both versions) Lessons 9 pgs. 215-219 plus Journal p. 32, and Lesson 10 pgs. 243-244 and pgs. 246- 249
Content Self-esteem Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 2 on understanding personality style, Lesson 3 on defining what's important to me; my expectations; Lesson 7 I can "draw or redraw the line of respect". Lesson 11 I can define a context and timing for sex that is personally meaningful to me; I can follow a pathway and sequence for success.
Content Morals/values No
Content Self-efficacy/empowerment Yes Yes (both versions) The program is built around increasing self-efficacy and empowerment.
Content Resilience No
Content Sexual health Yes Yes (both versions) ALL of Lesson 11 addresses this component very robustly along with the journal pages 39-43. Lesson 7 pgs. 138-141, 146,149-150, pgs. 152-155, & Journal p. 21-22 address intimate relationships free of coercion and violence. A new addition, marked Supplemental, since not in the original study is Lesson 12, Section 12.4 (pgs. 342-354). It addresses some issues with pornography employing an interview with Billie Eilish that raise important issues about positive and pleasurable sex and well-being. .
Content STIs - Treatment Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 12, pgs. 366-367
Content STIs - Screening Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 12, p. 334
Content STIs - Prevention Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 12, pgs.325, 332-334 & Resource 12b, Abstinence p. 335, Condoms p. 334-336. Also see questions 6 & 7 in Journal p. 41 Getting on Same Page, and see questions p. 45 in Journal Planning for Choices 366-367,
Content STIs - Information Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 12, 333-336, 366-367
Content Sexual risk reduction Yes Yes (both versions) Lessons 11,12,13.Journal pgs. 26, 41-45,52, 53. Lessons 4 on relationship pyramid, Lesson 7 on sexual assault and sex trafficking prevention, Lesson 8 on low-risk deciding approach, Lesson 13 Through the Eyes of a Child
Content Sexual risk discontinuation Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 11 p. 308 & Journal p. 42. Lesson 12 p. 339 & Journal p. 44.
Content Sexual risk avoidance Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 8 pgs. 171-178 on the risks of "sliding" and benefits of 'deciding". Lesson 11, pgs. 308-309 Drawing Intimacy Lines & Pacing Relationships, Lesson 12 p.335, 337, 339,
Content Personal vulnerability Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11,13
Content Maternal health No Optional Content on maternal health during pregnancy/pre-natal, attachment, attunement, early brain development and more affecting a child. Also described in terms of IPV affecting maternal and child health (Lesson 7). Lesson 13 pgs. 414-417. Also Resource 13F pgs. 434-436. Also Lesson 7, pgs. 147-148.
Content Contraception - Condoms Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 12, manual pages 328, 335-336 and in How Do Contraceptives Work video.
Content Contraception - Long-acting reversible contraceptives Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 12,pgs. 326 -327
Content Contraception - Other Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 12, pgs. 324, 327-329
Content Contraception - Pills, patches, rings, and shots Yes Yes (both versions) Lesson 12, pgs. 326-328
Content Reproduction Yes Yes (both versions) Yes on how an egg is fertilized and implantation of embryo. There is not content on changes in the maternal body goes through during stages of pregnancy. Lesson 12,pgs 323-327, video
Program Objectives
The main goal of Love Notes is to prevent unplanned pregnancy by providing teens with information to make wise relationship choices. The program also provides information on preventing relationship violence, and helps teens create a clear plan to avoid pregnancy and STDs.

Love Notes aims to achieve these goals by integrating relationship skills with pregnancy prevention and workforce readiness, with practical strategies for motivating change. The model relies on:

  • A realistic context for learning that incorporates language, values and scenarios that is relevant to this audience.
  • An appeal to aspirations that helps youth to cultivate a personal vision for love, intimacy, and success.
  • New motivations for behavioral change, such as exploring, from a child’s perspective, the impact of unplanned pregnancy and unstable relationships.
  • Empowerment to achieve healthy relationships at home and at work through both knowledge and practical skills.
Program Content
Love Notes is a 13-session program consisting of the following modules:
  1. Relationships Today
  2. Knowing Yourself
  3. My Expectations–My Future
  4. Attractions and Starting Relationships
  5. Principles of Smart Relationships
  6. Is It a Healthy Relationship?
  7. Dangerous Love
  8. Decide, Don't Slide! Pathways & Sequences Toward Success
  9. Communication and Healthy Relationships
  10. Communication Challenges and More Skills
  11. Let's Talk About Sex
  12. Let's Plan for Choices
  13. Through the Eyes of a Child
Program Methods
Love Notes is delivered through facilitation, PowerPoint slides, varied activities and exercises, large- and small-group discussions, individual journal applications, video clips, music videos, peer teaching, skill practice, role-play activities, drawing, and sculpting.
Program Structure and Timeline
Love Notes consists of 13 lessons, which can be implemented according to the needs of participants and the organization delivering the program. Lessons are approximately an hour long, more or less, depending on time constraints and use of supplemental content. The lessons may be taught individually or in groups of lessons. The intensity and frequency are left to the discretion of the organization implementing the program. When the program was evaluated, program delivery took place over two consecutive Saturdays, which comprised 11.5 hours of instructional time.
 
Staffing
Instructors must be familiar, comfortable, and successful in reaching their targeted youth population. Instructors must be trained by a Dibble certified trainer in the Love Notes Evidence Based Program Model (LN-EBP), which includes facilitation techniques and fidelity guidelines.
 
Staff Training
To maintain fidelity, training of all Love Notes instructors by a Dibble Master Trainer or a Certified Dibble-trained trainer is required. Love Notes EBP training is delivered over three days. It may be scheduled in a central location with multiple agencies attending or hosted by an agency with its staff. Virtual trainings are also available, which consist of five half-days with prework before the training. Training of trainers is also available. Please contact RelationshipSkills@DibbleInstitute.org or 800-695-7975 for more information.
Program Materials and Resources

Intervention materials include:

  • Love Notes Instructor’s Manual 
  • Love Notes Participant Journals (in hard copy or digital format)
  • Primary Colors Personality Tool
  • PowerPoint slideshow for each lesson—downloaded directly from website with purchase of the manual
Additional Needs for Implementation

A computer and projector are needed for each lesson’s PowerPoint slides. Other materials include art supplies, candies, and other readily available teaching materials.

Love Notes Participant Journals (available in hard copy of electronic form) can be purchased in bulk along with the Primary Colors Personality Tool from the Dibble website: www.dibbleinstitute.org, or call 800-695-7975.

Fidelity

The following fidelity aids and checklists are included with the EBP Model Manual:

  • Annotated slide deck to focus the instructor on key content.
  • Observational fidelity tools for coaches and evaluators
  • Facilitator quality measures
  • Participant reaction questionnaire
  • Participant perceptions of facilitator engagement and group cohesion questionnaires
  • Love Notes knowledge test
  • Inventory of related scales that can assess attitudinal and behavioral outcomes regarding sex, relationship quality, communication, conflict, control, violence as well as mediators.
Technical Assistance and Ongoing Support

Training clients receive technical assistance as part of their training package. Love Notes offers 2 hours of complimentary consultation per organization that have attended a Dibble training. In addition, further TA and evaluation is available.

Allowable Adaptations
Love Notes adaptations are permitted by the program’s developer in order to be more suitable for a particular population (i.e. visual learners or a particular racial/ethnic group) or an organization’s setting or program structure without compromising or deleting its core components.
 
For federal grantees, potential adaptations of Love Notes may need federal approval. Adaptations to the medical information provided in Love Notes may require a medical accuracy review and also approval by the funder.
For activities that directly relate to Love Note’s content, organizations may:
  • Add additional content from the Love Notes Complete Instructor’s Manual based on participant need and available time.
  • Include Love Notes activities for expecting and parenting teens.
  • Exchange “All Falls Down” for “Toothpaste” DVDs based on participant need.

For activities that do not directly relate to Love Note’s content, organizations may:

  • Change the first names in the scenarios to reflect the participants’ culture and gender.
  • Add icebreakers or energizers at the start of each session or between modules if delivering during an extended period of time.

Program Delivery:

  • Deliver lengthened sessions.
  • Increase the number and frequency of Love Notes sessions.
  • Use exercises, share facts, or make reminders about key concepts as part of booster text or sessions.
  • Provide make-up sessions.
  • Use modules with young adults up to age 24.

Unallowable Adaptations

  • Delivery without using the Love Notes PowerPoints and Participant Journal.
  • Delivery by a facilitator who has not attended a LN-EBP Dibble Certified Training.
  • Skipping content or activities from the Evidence Based Model.
Adaptations are not encouraged when the purpose is to make it easier or more convenient to implement the program; to stick to what is familiar; to drop controversial topics; or because educators lack appropriate training or preparation.   

All adaptation changes must be reviewed and approved in the context of maintaining fidelity to the core components.

Adaptation Guidelines or Kit
Yes
Reviewed Studies
Citation High-Quality Randomized Trial Moderate-Quality Randomized Trial Moderate-Quality Quasi-Experiment Low Study Rating Did Not Meet Eligibility Criteria

Cunningham et al. 2016 (Love Notes)

Barbee et al. 2016

Study Characteristics
Citation Setting Majority Age Group Majority Racial/Ethnic Group Gender Sample Size

Cunningham et al. 2016 (Love Notes)

Barbee et al. 2016

After school 14 to 17 African American or Black Youth of any gender 933
Study Findings

Evidence by Outcome Domain and Study

Citation Sexual Activity Number of Sexual Partners Contraceptive Use STIs or HIV Pregnancy

Cunningham et al. 2016 (Love Notes)

Barbee et al. 2016

Favorable evidence Indeterminate evidence Favorable evidence n.a. Potentially favorable evidence
Detailed Findings
Citation Details

Cunningham et al. 2016 (Love Notes)

Barbee et al. 2016

The program was evaluated with a clustered randomized controlled trial involving 23 community-based organizations in Louisville, KY. Youth were recruited into the study on a rolling basis in small groups. Each group was randomly assigned to one of three research conditions: a treatment group receiving the Love Notes intervention, a treatment group receiving the Reducing the Risk intervention, or a control group receiving a program on neighborhood assets and community change. Data for the study were collected before the intervention, immediately after the intervention, and at three, six, 12, and 24 months after the end of the intervention. This article focused on data collected at the 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups.

Six months after the end of the intervention, the study found that adolescents in the Love Notes group were less likely than those in the control group to report ever having sex, having any sexual activity in the past three months, having sex without a condom in the past three months, having sex without using birth control in the past three months, and ever being pregnant. The study found no statistically significant program impacts on measures of number of sexual partners or pregnancy in the last 3 months. The study found no statistically significant program impacts on any of these outcomes for the 3- or 12-month follow-up surveys.

Notes

Some study entries may include more than one citation because each citation examines a different follow-up period from the same study sample, or because each citation examines a different set of outcome measures on the same study sample. A blank cell indicates the study did not examine any outcome measures within the particular outcome domain or the findings for the outcome measures within that domain did not meet the review evidence standards.

Information on evidence of effectiveness is available only for studies that received a high or moderate rating. Read the description of the review process for more information on how these programs are identified.