Contradictions in change: Ecological factors in the implementation of outer layer sexual violence prevention

Agnes Rieger, Allyson M. Blackburn, Apoorva Nag, Hope Holland, Nicole E. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the adoption and implementation process in early efforts to implement ecological (“outer layer”) sexual violence (SV) prevention strategies. Interviews with 28 preventionists from 26 local sites within a large, midwestern state, were conducted to examine individual preventionists' problem definitions of SV and ecological factors surrounding implementation. Findings suggest that SV prevention in the state is primarily implemented at the individual-level; when preventionists described engaging in or anticipating outer layer interventions, they were often tertiary (i.e., responding after perpetration; e.g., Sexual Assault Response Teams). A majority expressed problem definitions rooted within the individual (e.g., perpetration due to a lack of consent education), and a majority of implemented efforts matched this individual-level conceptualization. Yet, contradictions between problem definitions (e.g., SV stemming from oppression) and implemented activities (e.g., single-session educational interventions) emerged. Such contradictions may be best understood in light of contextual implementation influences: diverse preventionist job responsibilities, less training/support for outer layer prevention, preventionist autonomy, leadership messaging, time requirements, partner reticence, and extensive work with schools. Inner layer influences, including identification with job roles, preference for, and a sense of urgency toward inner layer work, appeared to interact with contextual factors. Implications across community psychology domains are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-31
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • implementation
  • prevention
  • settings
  • sexual violence
  • socioecological model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Applied Psychology


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