Love Notes

Program Overview

Developer(s)

Marline Pearson, MA Published by The Dibble Institute

Program Summary

Love Notes is a comprehensive healthy relationship education curriculum that teaches adolescents and young adults (14-24) how to build healthy romantic relationships, prevent dating violence, and improve impulse control. The program is designed to build young people's skills for cultivating healthy relationships, selves, and sexual behaviors: planning and pacing relationships and sex, self-efficacy and resilience around relationships, proven communication skills, and understanding how family formation impacts children.    Love Notes consists of 13 one-hour lessons on decision-making, communication, and sexual and overall safety. The program can be delivered in multiple settings, such as community-based organizations, faith based agencies, community centers, social service agencies and resource centers in schools.

Target Population

Love Notes was designed for older youth and young adults (14-24) who are at-risk of an unplanned pregnancy or already pregnant or parenting. It was evaluated with youth between the ages of 14 and 19 years who had never been pregnant or caused a pregnancy.

Program Setting

Love Notes was designed to be delivered in a variety of settings including community-based organizations, faith based agencies, community centers, social service agencies, workforce development programs, and resource centers in schools. Love Notes was evaluated in community-based organizations.

Contact and Availability Information

For curriculum, materials, and pricing information, please contact:

The Dibble Institute at http://www.dibbleinstitute.org/love-notes-2/  

Additional contact information:

The Dibble Institute
P. O. Box 7881
Berkeley, CA 94707-0881 www.DibbleInstitute.org
RelationshipSkills@DibbleInstitute.org
Phone: 1-800-695-7975
Fax: 1-800-695-7975

 

For training and support, please contact:

Visit http://www.dibbleinstitute.org/training/ or call: 1-800-695-7975  

Sample of curriculum available for review prior to purchase: Yes

Adaptation guidelines or kit available: Yes

Languages available: English, Spanish

Program Components

Program Objectives

The main goal of Love Notes is to prevent unplanned pregnancy by providing teens with information to make wise relationship choices. The program also provides information on preventing relationship violence, and helps teens create a clear plan to avoid pregnancy and STDs.

Love Notes aims to achieve these goals by integrating relationship skills with pregnancy prevention and workforce readiness, with practical strategies for motivating change. The model relies on:

  • A realistic context for learning that incorporates language, values and scenarios that is relevant to this audience.
  • An appeal to aspirations that helps youth to cultivate a personal vision for love, intimacy, and success.
  • New motivations for behavioral change, such as exploring, from a child’s perspective, the impact of unplanned pregnancy and unstable relationships.
  • Empowerment to achieve healthy relationships at home and at work through both knowledge and practical skills.

Program Content

Love Notes is a 13-session program consisting of the following modules:

  1. Relationships Today
  2. Knowing Yourself
  3. My Expectations-My Future
  4. Attractions and Starting Relationships
  5. Principles of Smart Relationships
  6. Is it a Healthy Relationship
  7. Dangerous Love
  8. Decide, Don't Slide!
  9. The Low Risk Approach to Relationships
  10. Let's Talk About Sex
  11. Let's Plan for Choices
  12. What's Communication Got to Do With It?Communication Challenges and More Skills
  13. Through the Eyes of a Child.

Love Notes teaches evidence-based strategies for communication and conflict resolution in all relationships, with an emphasis on romantic relationships. The program builds empathy for children by encouraging youth to reflect on how decisions they make around their romantic relationships would affect a child born to them.

Planning physical intimacy and building self-efficacy around romantic relationships (called “Decide, Don’t Slide!” in the curriculum) forms a core strategy for the intervention and is grounded in the theory of planned behavior. The program is designed to empower teen participants to slow down and think through possible courses of action and their consequences. Youth learn about their chemical and hormonal reactions to anger, stress, and sexual attraction. The program uses the idea of “intentionality via planning,” which calls for teens to consciously weigh their potential actions against their long-term goals.

Program Methods

Love Notes is delivered through facilitation, PowerPoints, group discussions, exercises, workbooks, videos, music videos, brainstorming, worksheets, role-play activities, drawing, and sculpting.

Implementation Requirements and Guidance

Program Structure and Timeline

Love Notes consists of 13 lessons, which can be implemented according to the needs of participants and the organization delivering the program. The lessons may be taught individually or in groups of lessons. When the program was evaluated, program delivery took place over two consecutive Saturdays, which comprised 11.5 hours of instructional time.          

Staffing

Instructors must be familiar, comfortable, and successful in reaching their targeted youth population. Instructors must be trained by a Dibble certified trainer in the Love Notes Evidence Based Program Model (LN-EBP), which includes facilitation techniques and fidelity guidelines.  

Program Materials and Resources

Intervention materials include:

  • Love Notes Instructor’s Manual with EBP Model
  • Love Notes Participant Workbooks
  • Colors Personality Sorters
  • Reflections - DVD
  • All Falls Down  - DVD (African American Youth)
  • Toothpaste - DVD (Allowable adaptation for Hispanic Youth)
  • Human Reproduction and Childbirth - Thumb Drive
  • Birth Control Brochure
  • HIV Facts Brochure
  • STD Facts Brochure

Additional Needs for Implementation

A computer and projector are needed for each lesson’s PowerPoints. Other materials include art supplies, candies, and other readily available teaching materials.

All other needed materials including brochures and DVDs can be purchased from the Dibble website – http://www.dibbleinstitute.org/magento/index.php/curricula/love-notes-1.html

 

Fidelity

The following fidelity aids and checklists are included with the EBP Model Manual:

  • Annotated slide deck to focus the instructor on key content.
  • Observational fidelity tools for coaches and evaluators
  • Facilitator quality measures
  • Participant reaction questionnaire
  • Participant perceptions of facilitator engagement and group cohesion questionnaires
  • Love Notes knowledge test
  • Inventory of related scales that can assess attitudinal and behavioral outcomes regarding sex, relationship quality, communication, conflict, control, violence as well as mediators.

Training and Staff Support

Staff Training:

To maintain fidelity, training of all Love Notes instructors by a Dibble Master Trainer or a Certified Dibble trained trainer is required.   Love Notes EBP training is delivered over three days. It may be scheduled in a central location with multiple agencies attending or hosted by an agency with their staff. Training of Trainers is also available.   Please contact RelationshipSkills@DibbleInstitute.org or 800-695-7975 for more information.

Technical Assistance and Ongoing Support:

Training clients receive technical assistance as part of their training package. Love Notes offers 2 hours of complimentary consultation per organization that have attended a Dibble training. In addition, further TA and evaluation is available.

Allowable Adaptations

Love Notes adaptations are permitted by the program’s developer in order to be more suitable for a particular population (i.e. visual learners or a particular racial/ethnic group) or an organization’s setting or program structure without compromising or deleting its core components.   For federal grantees, potential adaptations of Love Notes may need federal approval. Adaptations to the medical information provided in Love Notes may require a medical accuracy review and also approval by the funder.
For activities that directly relate to Love Note’s content, organizations may:

  • Add additional content from the Love Notes Complete Instructor’s Manual based on participant need and available time.
  • Include Love Notes activities for expecting and parenting teens.
  • Exchange “All Falls Down” for “Toothpaste” DVDs based on participant need.

For activities that do not directly relate to Love Note’s content, organizations may:

  • Change the first names in the scenarios to reflect the participants’ culture and gender.
  • Add icebreakers or energizers at the start of each session or between modules if delivering during an extended period of time.

Program Delivery:

  • Deliver lengthened sessions.
  • Increase the number and frequency of Love Notes sessions.
  • Use exercises, share facts, or make reminders about key concepts as part of booster text or sessions.
  • Provide make-up sessions.
  • Use modules with young adults up to age 24.


Unallowable Adaptations

  • Delivery without using the Love Notes PowerPoints and Participant Journal.
  • Delivery by a facilitator who has not attended a LN-EBP Dibble Certified Training.
  • Skipping content or activities from the Evidence Based Model.
Adaptations are not encouraged when the purpose is to make it easier or more convenient to implement the program; to stick to what is familiar; to drop controversial topics; or because educators lack appropriate training or preparation.   

All adaptation changes must be reviewed and approved in the context of maintaining fidelity to the core components.

Implementation Readiness Assessment

The review team conducted an independent assessment of the program’s readiness for implementation. This assessment is based on the team’s review of available program materials and documents. The team also requested input from program developers and distributors about the availability of implementation materials and resources.

On the basis of this assessment, the team calculated an implementation readiness score comprised of three component scores: (1) curriculum and materials, (2) training and staff support, and (3) fidelity monitoring tools and resources. The component scores are combined into a total score, which ranges from 0 to 8, with higher scores indicating the programs most ready to implement.

Curriculum and Materials

Has defined curriculum with lesson plans and/or activities?Yes
Has defined core or required components?Yes
Has facilitator’s guide or instructions?Yes
Component Score3/3

Training and Staff Support

Formal pre-implementation training (by qualified trainers) available?Yes
Supplemental training or ongoing technical support available?Yes
Component Score2/2

Fidelity Monitoring Tools and Resources

Has defined logic model?Yes
Defines fidelity guidelines and benchmarks?Yes
Offers monitoring and evaluation tools?Yes
Component Score3/3

Total Implementation Readiness Score

8/8

Reviewed Studies

CitationHigh-Quality Randomized TrialModerate-Quality Randomized TrialModerate-Quality Quasi-experimentLow Study RatingDid Not Meet Eligibility Criteria

Cunningham et al. 2016 (Love Notes)

Barbee et al. 2016

 Yes   

Notes

Some study entries may include more than one citation because each citation examines a different follow-up period from the same study sample, or because each citation examines a different set of outcome measures on the same study sample.

Study Characteristics

CitationSettingMajority Age GroupMajority Racial/Ethnic GroupGenderSample Size

Cunningham et al. 2016 (Love Notes)

Barbee et al. 2016

After school/Community based14 to 17African AmericanBoth933

Notes

Some study entries may include more than one citation because each citation examines a different follow-up period from the same study sample, or because each citation examines a different set of outcome measures on the same study sample.

Information on study characteristics is available only for studies that received a high or moderate rating. Read the description of the review process for more information on how these programs are identified.

Study Findings

Citation Sexual Activity Number of Sexual Partners Contraceptive Use STIs or HIV Pregnancy

Cunningham et al. 2016 (Love Notes)

Barbee et al. 2016

Uniformly positive impacts across the outcomes examined in this domain Uniformly null impacts across the outcomes examined in this domain Uniformly positive impacts across the outcomes examined in this domain A mix of positive, null, and/or adverse impacts across the outcomes examined in this domain
CitationDetails

Cunningham et al. 2016 (Love Notes)

Barbee et al. 2016

The program was evaluated with a clustered randomized controlled trial involving 23 community-based organizations in Louisville, KY. Youth were recruited into the study on a rolling basis in small groups. Each group was randomly assigned to one of three research conditions: a treatment group receiving the Love Notes intervention, a treatment group receiving the Reducing the Risk intervention, or a control group receiving a program on neighborhood assets and community change. Data for the study were collected before the intervention, immediately after the intervention, and at three, six, 12, and 24 months after the end of the intervention. This article focused on data collected at the 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups.

Six months after the end of the intervention, the study found that adolescents in the Love Notes group were less likely than those in the control group to report ever having sex, having any sexual activity in the past three months, having sex without a condom in the past three months, having sex without using birth control in the past three months, and ever being pregnant. The study found no statistically significant program impacts on measures of number of sexual partners or pregnancy in the last 3 months. The study found no statistically significant program impacts on any of these outcomes for the 3- or 12-month follow-up surveys.

Notes

Some study entries may include more than one citation because each citation examines a different follow-up period from the same study sample, or because each citation examines a different set of outcome measures on the same study sample. A blank cell indicates the study did not examine any outcome measures within the particular outcome domain or the findings for the outcome measures within that domain did not meet the review evidence standards.

Information on evidence of effectiveness is available only for studies that received a high or moderate rating. Read the description of the review process for more information on how these programs are identified.