Long-term impact of exposure to a gender-transformative program among young men: Findings from a longitudinal study in Bihar, India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Purpose: Gender-transformative programs with men and boys are recognized as a promising strategy for reducing violence against women and girls (VAWG). Reviews of such programs have underscored the need for investments in high-quality studies that measure effects on bio-behavioral outcomes and downstream effects. This article extends the limited evidence on long-term effects of gender-transformative programs with men and boys in India. Methods: We used data from a cluster randomized trial of a gender-transformative life-skills education cum sports coaching program that sought to promote gender egalitarian attitudes and rejection of VAWG among boys and men aged 13–21 and a follow-up study. Young men were interviewed thrice—before the launch, after the completion, and 5 years after the completion of the trial (N = 853). We used generalized estimating equations models to estimate the short- and long-term effects of the intervention and effect modification by participation level and intervention exposure in early/late adolescence. Results: The intervention succeeded in promoting gender equitable attitudes and notions of positive masculinity (β = 0.319; p = .012), and attitudes rejecting men's controlling behaviors (β = 0.428; p = .068) and VAWG (β = 0.673; p = .051) among young men in the long- erm. It reduced their perpetration of intimate partner violence (odds ratio 0.639; p = .062). The long-term positive effects were observed for regular participants only, and greater effects were observed among those exposed to the intervention in early than late adolescence. Discussion: Exposing boys to gender-transformative programs early on and ensuring their regular intervention participation can have sustained impact on promoting gender egalitarian attitudes and reducing their perpetration of VAWG.