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IU researchers develop online intervention for relationship violence

Dr. Claire Draucker, IUPUI Nursing

Dating violence remains a significant problem, notably among emerging adults (individuals between the ages of 18-25 years old). According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Because not many prevention programs have been developed specifically for emerging adults, researchers from the IUPUI School of Nursing created an online dating and domestic violence prevention program called WISER (Writing to Improve Self-in-Relationships). WISER uses structured writing techniques, is based on narrative therapy principles, and is focused specifically on the developmental needs of emerging adults.


Dr. Stacey Crane

Led by Dr. Claire Burke Draucker, the Angela Barron McBride Endowed Professor in Psychiatric Mental Health in the Department of Nursing at IUPUI, this online program holds promise as a dating and domestic violence intervention for 18-25 year olds in troubled intimate partner relationships. The program consists of four weekly online sessions. After watching video presentations about troubled relationships, the participants are asked to write stories about their own relationships and submit them to a peer advisor through the WISER website. Having done so, the participants then receive written feedback on their stories from their peer advisors. In writing and receiving feedback on their narratives, participants have the opportunity to reflect upon their own circumstances and potentially make changes in how they approach or experience their relationships. Dr. Draucker believes that online interventions appeal to emerging adults for a variety of reasons, including the anonymity, lower cost, and convenience of online rather than face-to-face prevention programs. The WISER researchers now plan to test WISER with a wider audience.


Skip Comer

To seamlessly capture participant data while also operating the intervention through the WISER website, programmer Skip Comer and researcher Dr. Stacey Crane used REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture), administered by IU UITS Research Technologies. Using REDCap’s API (application program interface) feature, the participants’ stories were uploaded through the WISER website to REDCap where the data were then stored. The researchers likewise made use of REDCap’s Record Status Dashboard and survey notifications, which allowed them to track participants’ progress over the intervention’s multiple sessions and chart interactions between the participants and their peer advisors. Referring to REDCap’s performance as “exceptional”, Dr. Crane stated that in terms of online data collection and study management, “REDCap is really the ideal solution to support behavioral interventions.”

“The nice thing about REDCap,” Dr. Crane says, “is that it’s used everywhere and most people are familiar with it now. I personally really think it’s helped out and made a big difference.”