The FLASH curriculum, like most of the sexual health curricula that have been proven effective, is grounded in Social Learning Theory. It is designed to encourage people to make healthy choices: abstain longer, use protection if they do have sex, seek health care when they need it, communicate effectively with their families and with their partners and health care providers, seek help for sexual abuse, treat others with respect (not harass or exploit them), and stand up to harassment and exploitation.
Based on Social Learning Theory literature, FLASH lessons include a variety of strategies designed to help students choose and succeed in these behaviors.
- There are activities that focus on cognitive factors (knowledge, expectations about likely consequences, attitudes about such things as gender roles and who should take responsibility for protection).
- There are activities that focus on environmental factors (norms and students' accurate perceptions of norms).
- There are activities that focus on the behaviors themselves (students see skills modeled, they practice, and they experience growing confidence in their own efficacy).
For more about Social Learning Theories we recommend ETR Associates' Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (see "theories and approaches").
The sexual violence prevention lessons are further based on the Social-Ecological Model and the Confluence Model. The Social Ecological model seeks to impact factors that support violence at four levels: 1) individual, 2) relationship, 3) community and 4) society. FLASH focuses primarily on the levels 2, 3 and 4. The use of scenarios, introspective work and social norm re-setting addresses these levels. Visit the CDC's Violence Prevention website for more information.
The Confluence Model[i],[ii],[iii] has long been used to explain sexual violence, but has only recently begun to be applied in the realm of prevention. This model posits that adverse developmental experiences during childhood have a detrimental impact on the ways in which individuals view themselves and others, and their ability to form meaningful and healthy relationships. In particular, these experiences can lead to a rigid, violent and objectifying view of women, which is a significant risk factor for perpetrating sexual violence.[iv] FLASH addresses this risk factor by focusing heavily on increasing respect for all genders and breaking down harmful gender stereotypes.
[i]Malamuth, N., Heavey, C., & Linz, D. (1996). The confluence model of sexual aggression: Combining hostile masculinity and impersonal sex. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 23(3), 13-37.
[ii]Malamuth, N., Sockloskie, R., Koss, M., & Tanaka, J. (1991). The characteristics of aggressors against women: Testing a model using a national sample of college students. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, 670-681.
[iii]Malamuth, N., Heavey, C., & Linz, D. (1993). Predicting men's antisocial behavior against women: The Interaction Model of sexual aggression. In G. Hall, R. Hirschman, J. Graham & M. Zaragoza, (Eds.) Sexual Aggression: Issues in etiology and assessment, treatment and policy. (63-97). New York: Hemisphere.
[iv]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Sexual Violence and Risk Protective Factors.