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Open Access Study protocol

“Young people, adult worries”: RCT of an internet-based self-support method “Feel the ViBe” for children, adolescents and young adults exposed to family violence, a study protocol

Karin AWL van Rosmalen-Nooijens1*, Judith B Prins2, Marianne Vergeer3, Sylvie H Lo Fo Wong1 and Antoine LM Lagro-Janssen1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Primary and Community Care, Gender & Women’s Health, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, Nijmegen, 6500HB, The Netherlands

2 Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, Nijmegen, 6500HB, The Netherlands

3 Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, Nijmegen, 6500HB, The Netherlands

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:226  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-226

Published: 15 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Violence in families affects children. Exposure to violence is seen as child abuse. Figures show that about one third of children exposed to violence become victim or perpetrator in their adult life: known as intergenerational transmission. Violence also affects sexual and reproductive health. To prevent problems in adult life, children need help and support. However, while trying to protect their parents, children often do not seek help, or perceive the threshold as too high. Since almost all children of the current generation have access to the internet, an online intervention will make help better available for this target group. In 2011, an internet-based self-support method for children, adolescents and young adults exposed to family violence was developed in the Netherlands: “Feel the ViBe”. The intervention was developed in close collaboration with the target group. This article describes the protocol of the RCT to study the effectiveness of this intervention.

Methods/design

This study is a randomized controlled trial using the method of minimization to randomize the participants in two parallel groups with a 1:1 allocation ratio, being an intervention group, having access to “Feel the ViBe” and usual care (UC), and a control group, having access to minimally enhanced usual care (mEUC) followed by access to the intervention after twelve weeks. Outcomes are measured with questionnaires on PTSD symptoms, mental health and sexual and reproductive health. Routine Outcome Measurement (ROM) will be used to measure a direct effect of participating in the intervention. Data from a web evaluation questionnaire (WEQ), user statistics and qualitative analysis of online data will be used to support the findings. To compare results Cohen’s d effect sizes will be used.

Discussion

A RCT and process evaluation will test effectiveness and provide information of how the effects can be explained, how the intervention meets the expectation of participants and which possible barriers and facilitators for implementation exist. A qualitative analysis of the data will add information to interpret the quantitative data. This makes “Feel the ViBe” unique in its field.

Trial registration

The Netherlands National Trial Register (NTR), trial ID NTR3692.

Keywords:
Family violence; Exposure to violence; Witness violence; Sexual and reproductive health; Children; Adolescents; Young adults; E-health; RCT; Mental health