Cluster Randomized Trial of a College Health Center Sexual Violence Intervention

Elizabeth Miller, Kelley A. Jones, Heather L. McCauley, Dana L. Rofey, Duncan B. Clark, Janine M. Talis, Jocelyn C. Anderson, Carla D. Chugani, Robert W.S. Coulter, Kaleab Z. Abebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Sexual violence, particularly in the context of drinking, is prevalent on college campuses. This study tested a brief intervention to prevent sexual violence among students receiving care from college health centers. Study design: This study was a two-arm, unblinded cluster RCT. Setting/participants: On 28 campuses with health/counseling centers (1:1 randomization allocation; 12 intervention and 16 control), from September 2015 to March 2018, a total of 2,291 students seeking care at college health centers completed surveys before the appointment, immediately after, 4 months later, and 12 months later. Intervention: Intervention college health center staff received training on delivering sexual violence education to all students seeking care. Control sites provided information about drinking responsibly. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was students’ change in recognition of sexual violence. Additional outcomes included sexual violence disclosure and use of services among students with a history of sexual violence at baseline. Generalized linear mixed models accounting for campus-level clustering assessed intervention effects. Data were analyzed from September 2018 to June 2019. Results: Half (55%) of students seeking care at college health centers reported any history of sexual violence exposure. No between-group differences in primary (β=0.001, 95% CI= −0.04, 0.04) or secondary outcomes emerged between intervention and control students. Post-hoc analyses adjusting for the intensity of intervention delivery (intensity-adjusted) revealed an increase in self-efficacy to use harm reduction strategies (β=0.09, 95% CI=0.01, 0.18) among intervention participants. Among those who reported sexual violence at baseline, intervention students had increased odds of disclosing violence during the visit (AOR=4.47, 95% CI=2.25, 8.89) in intensity-adjusted analyses compared with control. No between-group differences emerged for remaining outcomes. Conclusions: Sexual violence exposure is high among students seeking care in college health centers. A brief provider-delivered sexual violence intervention, when implemented with fidelity, was associated with improved self-efficacy to use harm reduction and increased disclosure of sexual violence during clinical encounters but no increased use of services. More interventions that are stronger in intensity are needed to connect students to sexual violence services. Trial registration: This study is registered at NCT02355470.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-108
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Cluster Randomized Trial of a College Health Center Sexual Violence Intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this