The FLASH curriculum is based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. It is designed to support young people in making healthy choices: abstain from sex, use protection when they do have sex, seek health care when they need it, communicate effectively with their families, and respect other's decisions not to have sex. The curriculum is age appropriate, teaching content and skills that are developmentally appropriate across the grade levels.
The Theory of Planned Behavior posits that the combination of attitudes toward behavior, subjective norms, and self-efficacy shape an individual's behaviors. As such, FLASH includes a variety of strategies designed to create positive attitudes, beliefs and norms and to build skills and self-efficacy in order to reduce rates of pregnancy, STDs and sexual violence.
- There are activities that focus on building positive attitudes about abstinence, condoms, birth control and puberty
- There are activities that focus on building positive peer norms about abstinence, condoms, birth control and respecting other's decisions no to have sex
- There are activities that focus on building self-efficacy, by teaching skills and offering ample and appropriately scaffolded practice, so that students can have the experience of successfully using the new skill
The sexual violence prevention lessons are further based on the Social-Ecological Model and the Confluence Model. The Social Ecological Model addresses factors at the (1) individual, (2) relationship, (3) community and (4) society levels that put people at risk of experiencing violence as a victim or perpetrator. 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 of Sexual Aggression 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 (CDC). FLASH addresses this risk factor by focusing heavily on increasing respect for all genders and breaking down harmful gender stereotypes.