School Coaches Positively Influence Boys’ Behavior with Help from UPMC Children’s
Athletic coaches play an extremely influential role in the lives of young men. These unique relationships allow coaches to positively influence how young men think and behave, both on and off the field. Coaching Boys Into Men is the only evidence-based prevention program of its kind that trains and motivates coaches to teach their young male athletes healthy relationship skills and that violence never equals strength.
Implemented in schools across the U.S. and around the world, Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) engages male athletes as leaders in schools to model respectful behaviors for their peers. CBIM trains high school and middle school coaches to lead 15-minute conversations before, during, and after practice about building safe and healthy relationships with dating partners, consent, and what to do if they witness harassment or sexual assault.
Coaching Boys Into Men is Effective
A 2012 study led by Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at UPMC Children’s, showed that CBIM is effective. The study demonstrated that the program increased high school male athletes’ intentions to do something when they witness disrespectful and harmful behaviors among their peers. It also showed that, in the year following the program, the athletes who received the program from their coaches reported lower rates of abuse perpetration than athletes who did not receive the program. She found similar effects with middle school age athletes in a study published in 2020. In fact, program participants had 76% lower odds of abuse against a dating partner one year later.
“Demonstrating that this evidence-based program can work well with younger adolescents strengthens our efforts to prevent sexual and dating violence,” said Dr. Miller. “This means we can expect positive results if we scale up the Coaching Boys Into Men program to reach many more youth across our region.”
Coaching Boys Into Men Extends its Reach Internationally
Alana D. Fields, PhD, a 2022 Cooper-Siegel ARC Fellowship alum, works to develop tools and curricula for the program, as well as resources to help coaches recognize and respond to mental health concerns with their players. With support from the national nonprofit Futures Without Violence, CBIM reaches schools throughout the United States and across the world—including Australia, South Africa, Angola, Brazil, and Trinidad. In southwest Pennsylvania alone, the program reaches nearly 250 coaches, 65 teams, 30+ schools, and nearly 2,000 athletes annually.
Because of the success of Coaching Boys Into Men, UPMC Children’s is making a positive impact on our community and cultural health here in Pittsburgh and throughout the world. It is thanks to the support of our donors that the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine can do this vital and effective work. Donate today to help sustain and expand programs like CBIM.
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