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Research and Results

Interested in learning about the research base of the Talking About Touching program? Download the following document:

Research Findings

Looking for research findings on the Talking About Touching program for a grant proposal or to bolster buy-in? Read the following summaries of findings.


Parents Trained in Prevention More Likely to Communicate with Their Children About Child Sexual Abuse

Burgess, E. S., & Wurtele, S. K. (1998). Enhancing parent-child communication about sexual abuse: A pilot study. Child Abuse and Neglect, 22(11), 1167–1175. 

The What Do I Say Now? family video was evaluated as part of a one-hour child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention workshop. Parents attending the CSA workshop were more likely than control parents to believe child education could be effective in preventing abuse. CSA-group parents also reported significantly greater communications with their children about CSA at follow-up.

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Elementary Students Show Gains in Personal Safety Knowledge

Madak, P. R., & Berg, D. H. (1992). The prevention of sexual abuse: An evaluation of Talking About Touching. Canadian Journal of Counseling, 26(1), 29–40.

An evaluation of the Talking About Touching program was conducted in five urban elementary schools in midwestern Canada. T-tests indicated significant gains in personal safety knowledge for second through sixth grades. Similar improvements were shown for kindergarten through first-grade students through descriptive analysis.

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Elementary Students Show Improvement in Safety-Skills Practice

Sylvester, L. (1997). Talking About Touching: A Personal Safety Curriculum (1996 editions) preschool to grade 3 curriculum evaluation summary. Seattle, WA: Committee for Children.

The Talking About Touching curriculum was evaluated using pre- and post-interviews with students receiving the program.

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Positive Effects of Personal Safety Programs

Research shows that preschool and elementary-age children can learn personal safety concepts and skills (Wurtele, Marrs, & Miller-Perrin, 1987; Finkelhor & Strapko, 1992). The most effective programs teach skills over multiple sessions, provide opportunities to practice the skills, and include parental involvement (Davis & Gidycz, 2000; Finkelhor, Asdigian, & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1995).

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No Evidence of Negative Effects

Overall, studies do not support the view that personal safety instruction has unintended negative outcomes.

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