2. OVERVIEW OF OUR ACTIVITIES
We are now in the final step of our project and, for this reason, this last contribution of our Blog will frame the main findings arising from the project activities as well as the main responses to our initial needs. In fact, since the beginning this project has aimed to promote adolescents’ capabilities to improve intimate relationships with their peers. We have pursued this goal through different activities ranging from training and interactive workshops to filming and reciting activities, which were expected to enable teenagers to recognize the IPV-related protective factors they already have (i.e., individual skills, family and school assets, and other community settings they belong to) to build and maintain healthy love relationships. Namely, we have fostered teens to strengthen self- esteem and trust, challenge sexism or tolerant attitudes towards gender-based (and) dating violence, manage problems and conflicts through interpersonal communication skills and mediation, claim their rights and protect themselves from risky or abusive relationships.
In order to response all these objectives, in just two years we have ambitiously performed training seminars with about 100 teachers and more than 50 workshops with 1550 students aged from 12 to 17 years in six different European cities (Alicante, Mathosinos, Cardiff, Poznam, Iasi, Roma). In doing so, our project has contributed to raise awareness about the importance of healthy interpersonal relationships among students and the whole educational community around them. At the end of this path, we can pin some interesting results.
Sexism decreased among those students who participated in the workshops, more than among those ones who were in the control group and were not exposed to the intervention activities. This decrease was stronger among girls (mean differences= -4.6, p-value <0.001) than among boys (mean differences= -3.0, p-value <0.001). As it is shown in the following figure, a significant decrease of benevolent sexism was registered among girls of intervention group (mean difference= -3.8, p<0.001) while it remained constant in control group (difference=-1.1, p=0.067). Namely, the intervention had a positive effect to decrease the mean value of benevolent sexism in girl.
Even aggressiveness mainly decreased among girls, namely among those ones from the intervention group; the boys from the intervention group showed a slightly increase compared to control group (p=0.044).
Although those challenging results, we also can confirm that the final 30 short-films produced by the students (including a total amount of 180 video-capsules) allowed them to acknowledge their friends, families, school staff as relevant protective assets against any form of violence. Filming and reciting activities also empowered participants in managing dating violence situations through personal skills such as problem-solving, empathy, assertiveness and communication. Of course, all these results should be interpreted by looking at the specific contexts we reached with our project, which are very different from each other, thus revealing the importance of combining diverse settings and integrating tailor-made interventions. The duration of the project is also relevant, because the long-term effects of the interventions can reveal significant aspects that otherwise remain opaque. And finally, we must consider the effect of other similar interventions taking place in the schools, which may have influenced or shaped students’ receptiveness, thus showing – for that matter – the importance of interconnecting similar projects.
2. OVERVIEW OF OUR ACTIVITIES
From May 2019 to November 2019 all the partners of the Lights4Violence project have been actively engaged in the impementation of the last phases of the project which included the second wave of the survey; cineforum with students and the analysis of the project data with which each partner has examined different aspects of the dating violence phenomenon.
More specifically as regard to the data analysis process, The UA team with the collaboration of ISCIII team, analized the frequency and sociodemographic factors associates to violent thinking, machismo and acceptance of violence of 1555 european students.
Picture from the second Wave of the Lights4Violence survey in Spain
The results of our surveys show that the risk factors that increase the probability of scoring higher in violent thinking, machismo and acceptance of violence are: to be a boy, do bullying against someone, have girlfriend/boyfriend and/or have suffered dating violence and don’t perceive social support from parents.
Regarding to violent thinking and acceptance of violence, the risk factors are: have suffered physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood and have a father with no paidwork. For machismo and acceptance of violence, don’t perceive social support from teachers increase the probability of scoring higher in both subscales. When the age increases, the probability to score higher in machismo increases too. Among the participating adolescents, violent, macho and VA attitudes are observed. This can be explained by exposure to different types of violence, early couple relationships and gender inequalities. Family and teacher support seem to be key assets for the promotion of more equitable and healthy attitudes.
Lower levels of benevolent sexism were associated with having a mother with university education and higher ability to solve problems. In hostile subscale, the only difference between the results of total and benevolent scale was that the social support was not associated to hostile sexism. In conclusion, having a mother with university education is related to lower sexism among adolescents.
It’s necessary to reduce the levels of benevolent and hostile sexism, especially in boys. Interventions for the prevention of dating violence experiences are needed. Strategies to improve problem solving ability can help to reduce the levels of sexism in adolescents.
During the Internationational Meeting “Educational intervention to prevent Dating Violence among adolescents” in Alicante, from the 23rd to the 24th of October 2019, other important insights emerged by the partners’ presentations with regard to the workshops carried out in the school and the content produced by students through the shortfilms.
Pictures from workshop about videocapsules activities
Picture from the public exhibition of the Portuguese shortfilms to the entire community made of families, teachers and stakeholders on May 24
Picture from the exhibition of the Polish shortfilm in Poznan to students and familiers
Picture from Romanian shortfilms exhibition in early November 2019
The analysis of shortfilms made by ISMAI team, in Portugal, highlighted that adolescents acknowledge their friends, their families, the school and other closed settings as relevant violence protective assets. At the same time verbal violence is the most represented on the scripts used to creat videocapsules and it is also the more prevalent and the more perceived pattern of violence on adolescent population in Spain. It is prevalent and normalised by adolescents, and not perceived as something alarming. That normalisation is happening also with other patterns of violence like the psychological one, recognising actions like jealousy as a sign of love.
In relation to the assets that they used in their stories to solve conflict relationships, family, school and friendship-related assets were the most present in the video-capsules. Adolescents also show themselves able to deal with dating violence using personal skills such as problem-solving, assertiviness, empathy and communication habilities.
The LUMSA team, in Italy, observed relevant changes in Italian student’s attitudes challenging sexism, but also a controversial increase in agressivity. We should interpret these results in their specific contexts and the effect (or lack of this) of other interventions related with this topic. Students show themselves with habilities to manage dating violence situation using different personal skills and violence protective assets. Lights4Violence project has been made in contexts where other related project are taking place. It is needed, therefore, to promote connections and convergences.
Members of the Polish team showed, during the meetin in Alicante, overlap of dating violence and bullying/cyberbullying as well as its connection to empathy. Data gathered from the first wave of the survey highlight that 1 on 12 bullied students was bullied by the recent partner and 1 on 7 students who perpetrated bullism did it on a former partner. At the same time 1 on 13 of those were cyberbullied was cyberbullied by the recent partner and 1 on 7 of those who cyberbull someonelse, cyberbulls the recent partner. The results have also shown lower empathy in cyberbullying perpetrators. It is clearly seen that dating issue should be taken into account in bullying and cyberbullying research.
In Romania, the most relevant conclusions obtained after the analysis of answers provided by 22 students from “Dimitrie Cantemir” Highschool, from Iasi, who participated in the intervention phase showed that teenagers had positive answers about what they learned during this activity. Many of them discovered the value of team working, the unconditioned respect for the members of their team, the trust in them and their teammates, what means to be discriminated and, especially, how do they have to react at any sort of discrimination. Also, the students noticed that the project affected them positively and change their way of thinking and in their daily behavior and activities.
Some of students said that they will use what they have learned in difficult situations but others said they will use the knowledge all the time, including in the family and friend relationships.
Most students wrote that the participating in the workshop was easy. Some admitted that they had difficulties because they had to get into the character's skin, others said that they had higher emotions and they couldn’t control them. The students noticed the pleasure of working as a team and discovering how to solve the most unexpected problems.
Students in UK learnt from the project the importance of communication skills and of discussing feeling in relationships taking other people’s perspectives in to account Moreover the learnt how to spot an unhealthy or abusive relationship and how to resolve complex situations in a more positive way. The comments provided by students to Wales team hilighted that the project gave them an opportunity to work together with others to complete a task and they found this a positive experience. They also commented that they learned practical skills, filming, acting and editing.
Students from Cardiff in UK felt more aware of potentially problematic (or ‘dangerous’) relationships, how to offer help to others in such situations and how to settle arguments. They also commented that the project helped them recognise how it feels to be bullied and disrespected and that respect is an important part of any relationship and that engaging in this project made them feel ‘closer’ as friends. The majority of children responded to this question indicating that they feel they have learned how to solve arguments.
In Poland, students appreciated very much the workshops atmosphere that made the feel “safe”, as some students said. The pivotal skills and assets fostered by the intervention activities are addressed, in students’ opinions, to improve communication with peers. They declared that they’ve learnt ability to solve problems, how to cope with difficult situations and keep distance to take rational decisions.
What emerged from the quantitative and qualitativeproject data is that students used what they learnt from the experience of the Lights4Violence project in their interpersonal relationships with family, friends and partners. However, the quantitative data showed that the issue of dating violence requires constant interventions over time, taking into account the socio-cultural contexts of the students and their experiences.
Members of UK team completed a paper using data from the overall study analysed by Lauren Arnott, the paper was presented at the L4V final meeting in Alicante.
The paper explores the relationship between adolescent dating violence (ADV) victimisation, violent cognition and social-problem solving, utilizing validated psychometrics. The ADV literature has identified both violent cognition and social problem-solving as individual-level risk factors that increase the likelihood of victimisation. However, prior research has failed to determine how specific aspects of these factors relate to experiences of dating violence. This research involved secondary analysis of the Lights4Violence project. As part of the project, the Maudsley Violence Questionnaire (MVQ) and the Social Problem Solving Inventory Revised (SPSI-R) were delivered to a sample of early adolescents (n = 1449, M = 14.16 years). The prevalence of ADV victimisation ranged from eighteen percent for males, to twenty percent for females. Notably, this study identified the relevance of machismo as a treatment target for future dating violence prevention. Several avenues for future research and implications for practice are discussed. The paper is now being developed for publication.
Adolescent Dating Violence; Relationship to Violent Cognition and Social Problem-Solving
the UA and ISCIII team attended to the XXXVII Annual Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology (SEE). It took place in Oviedo (Spain) on September 4, 5 and 6th. UA-team presented five communications and posters about the preliminary results of the baseline data and process indicators of Lights4violence project. Among these, one was about the preliminary results of the on-going studies entittled: “Violent thinking, machismo and acceptance of violence in adolescents in Europe”. Violence expousure was identified among the increased likelihood associated factors and family and teacher’s support among the protective ones.
The other presentations were about the following topics:
APOYO SOCIAL, AUTOESTIMA, RESOLUCIÓN DE CONFLICTOS, MACHISMO, SEXISMO Y AGRESIVIDAD EN LA POBLACIÓN JOVEN DE 6 PAÍSES EUROPEOS
C. Rodríguez; -Blázquez, A. Ayala-García, N. Albadalejo-Blázquez, C. Corradi, S. Neves, N. Bowes, I. Gotca, J. Pyzalski, C. Vives-Cases, et al
Gac Sanit. 2019;33 Supl Congr:I-V.Pag 15
The aim of this study was to analyse the psychometric properties and average values of the scales used to evaluate the effect of the intervention carried out in Lights4Violence project. The scales have good internal consistency. The results of this analysis suggest that interventions are needed to improve young people's self-esteem, assertiveness and conflict resolution skills.
AUTOESTIMA, RESOLUCIÓN DE CONFLICTOS, SEXISMO Y AGRESIVIDAD EN JÓVENES B. Sanz-Barbero, A. Ayala, M.C. Davó, B. Ioan, K. de Claire, E.M. Carausu, S. Jaskulska, F. Belotti, C. Vives-Cases
Gac Sanit. 2019;33 Supl Congr:I-V. Pag 15
The objective of this speech was to analyze the mean values obtained in the main outcome variables contemplated in the Lights4Violence project that measure self-esteem, conflict resolution capacity, sexism and aggressiveness, according to the sociodemographic characteristics and experiences of violence of the participants.
Results show that sexism, aggressiveness, low problem-solving capacity and low self-esteem are higher among socially vulnerable adolescents, as well as among those who have had early relationships, have suffered or exerted bullying or have been exposed to family violence.
PENSAMIENTO VIOLENTO, MACHISMO Y ACEPTACIÓN DE LA VIOLENCIA EN ADOLESCENTES DE EUROPA V. Pérez-Martínez, C. Vives-Cases, B. Sanz-Barbero, R. Ferrer-Cascales, A. Ayala-García, N. Albaladejo-Blázquez, M. Sánchez-San Segundo, et al
Gac Sanit. 2019;33 Supl Congr:I-V. Pag 16
There is evidence on the relationship between violent thinking (PV), machismo (M) and acceptance of violence (AV) and violent behaviour. Its detection can be useful in developing strategies to prevent intimate partner violence. The aim of this study was to analyse the frequency and factors associated with PV, M and AV in adolescents in different European cities. Among the participating adolescents, violent, macho and VA attitudes are observed, which, in part, can be explained by exposure to different types of violence, early partner relationships and gender inequalities. Family and faculty support appear to be key assets in promoting more equitable and healthy attitudes.
EVALUACIÓN DE PROCESO DE UNA INTERVENCIÓN SOBRE VIOLENCIA DE GÉNERO EN ADOLESCENTES DE 6 PAÍSES EUROPEOS. PROGRAMA “LIGHTS4VIOLENCE”M.J. Forjaz, B. Sanz-Barbero, V. Pérez.
Gac Sanit. 2019;33 Supl Congr:I-V. Pag 112
The aim of this study is to evaluate the implementation process of the intervention in Ligts4Violence project. The indicators obtained in the process evaluation show that there is variability in the process of implementation of the intervention among the participating countries. In general, a high level of participation, attention, understanding and satisfaction has been obtained with the training sessions of the intervention.
ANÁLISIS RASCH DEL CUESTIONARIO AMBIVALENT SEXISM INVENTORY (ASI)A. Ayala, M.J. Forjaz, M. Sánchez San Segundo, I. Antohe, D. Costa, K. Waszynska, G. Agrusti, D. Pacelli, C. Vives-Cases.
Gac Sanit. 2019;33 Supl Congr:I-V.Pag 277
The aim of this study was to analyse the metric properties of the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI), one of the scales used to assess the effects of the intervention of Lights4Violence project on the sexist attitudes of participants in adolescents in 6 European countries.The results of the Rasch analysis confirm that the ASI is a multidimensional scale with good metric properties. Virtually all items showed no country bias, suggesting the possibility of analysing the data without stratification.
At the XXXVII Reunión Científica de la Sociedad Española de Epidemiología y XIV Congresso da Associação Portuguesa de Epidemiologia - Mª Dolores Martos Morillo, student of the Master in Public Health, presented the master's dissertation titled “Variables associated with sexism in Europe: Evaluation of Ambivalent Sexism Inventory scale in within the frame of Lights4Violence project”.
The Romanian team participated in the 11th National Conference with International Participation of the Romanian Society of Pathophysiology that took place on September 5-6, in Tg Mures, Romania. The team from Iasi presented the preliminary results about “The effect of assertiveness training on the self-esteem, violence and stress response in adolescents”.
In the second presentation, entitled ‘’Particularities of stress response in adolescents: experimental research”, the Romanian team has included 17 adolescents aged 15-17 years. We have induced an acute stress in all participants using three different digital tasks. We measured salivary cortisol before the induction (T0), during the stress test (T1, T2, T3) and 25 minutes after the stress test (T5). We applied psychological tests for assessing the perceived stress level before and after the stress test.
Mean salivary cortisol at each point during the stress test significantly varied (p <0.01, ranging between minimum 3.68 pmol/l and maximum 53.38 pmol/l). The girls have higher salivary cortisol levels at T0, T1, T3, T4, and T5 as compared the boys. Our results revealed different cortisol response during experimental depending on gender and type of stress stimulation.
The abstracts were issued in the Acta Medica Marisiensis Journal (EBSCO indexed).
Moreover, in early November 2019, a major event was organized in Romania by the Iași County School Inspectorate. Members of public institutions, local authorities and other educational partners of the schools were gathered, in the form of a roundtable, in order to identify solutions to increase the safety of students and teaching and non-teaching staff in educational institutions. Also, during the debate, a special emphasis was placed on the need for preventive activities. As an example, the shortfilms produced by the students in the frame of L4V project have been presented.
In Poland, before the summer vacation, dr K. Waszyńska provided a webinar entitled “Love - communication, patterns and expectations in a relationship”. During the meeting, apart from sharing the psychological knowledge, dr Waszyńska answered questions on the subject, that arose during the meeting. The participants were teachers and other practitioners working with young people. They talked about relationships of youth and adults. The meeting was met with great interest. That proved that such programs as Ligts4Violence bring the added value to Polish educational system.
In October, the Portuguese team presented an oral communication on “Gender and Sexuality - Educating to a plural social”, based on the theoretical model supporting Lights4Violence at a scientif event wich took place at Montijo: Labs on Learning.
Neves, S., Vieira, C., Correia, A., Silva, E., Topa, J., Paulino, F., Queirós, S., Ferreira, S., & Costa, D. (2019 julho). Lights4Violence: O desenvolvimento juvenil positivo e a prevenção da violência no namoro. Presented at II Congresso Internacional do CIEG: Estudos de Género, Feministas e sobre as Mulheres: Reflexividade, resistência e ação. Lisboa: ISCSP/ULisboa.
Vieira, C. (2019, outubro 29). Género & Sexualidade - Educar para um social Plural: Papéis sociais de género. Apresentação do Projeto Lights4violence em contexto escolar. Presented at Laboratório de Aprendizagem ao Centro Cívico do Esteval. Montijo.
The 29th of October 2019 a member of the Italian Team, Francesca Ieracitano, presented a speech at the conference planned by the Training Center of Rome for the contrast to Bullying and Cyberbullying. The title of the conference that involved more than 300 teachers from Rome was: “We think outside the box. Creativity – Divergences and Convergences in the development of talents at school”. Francesca Ieracitano presented all the steps and the main results of the Lights4Violence project.
In June Katarzyna Waszyńska recorded a webinar entitled “Love - communication, patterns and expectations in a relationship”. During the meeting, apart from sharing the psychological knowledge, Waszyńska answered questions on the subject, that arose during the meeting. We talked about relationships of youths and adults. The meeting was met with great interest (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIDeHEnVkC4&t=380).
In August Katarzyna Waszynska participated in a didactic project “sexuality in the modern world”. She gave lectures about the myths surrounding love and sexuality, functioning relationships. During the lecture she talked about the Lights4Violence project as action preparing young people to take risks in increasing the quality of life and relationships.
In Warsaw (November 22-24), during the National Scientific conference “Modern sexology” the poster “LIGHTS, CAMERA AND ACTION AGAINST DATING VIOLENCE (Lights4violence)- experiences in working with youth” was presented.
The Italian situation regarding gender stereotypes and violence is alarming. A survey by ISTAT provides very worring data: https://www.istat.it/it/files//2019/11/Report-stereotipi-di-genere.pdf
About violence in a couple, 7.4% of people always consider it acceptable or in some circumstances that “a boy slaps his girlfriend because she flirted with another man”; 6.2% that in a couple we escape a slap every now and then. Compared to the control, however there are more than twice as many people (17.7) who consider it always acceptable or in some circumstances that a man routinely checks the mobile phone and/or social networks activities of his wive/girlfriend. When asked why some men are violent with their partners/wiwes, 77,7% of the responds answer because women are considered object of property (84.9% women and 70.4%men), 75.5% because they abuse drugs or alchol and another 75% because of the need for men to feel superior to their partners/wives. The difficulty of some men in managing anger is indicated by 70.6%, with a difference about 8 percentage points in favor of women compared to men.
The WHO published recently RESPECT women: Preventing violence against women.
This important document available at https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/312261/WHO-RHR-18.19-eng.pdf?ua=1
The report is an important tool for policymakers, and programme implementers working on preventing and responding to violence against women.
If you believe that promoting protective factors, such as trust, recognition of diversity, and mutual respect and friendship is a way to prevent teen dating violence, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Lights4Violence/) and Instagram (Lights4Violence), and please visit our website www.lights4violence.eu and blog http://www.lights4violence.eu/blog