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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Dating violence is an important but understudied public health concern in adolescents. This study sought to examine the lifetime prevalence of serious forms of dating violence in to year-olds, risk and protective factors associated with dating violence, and the relation between dating violence and mental health. Prevalence of dating violence was 1.
Risk factors included older age, female sex, experience of other potentially traumatic events, and experience of recent life stressors. Findings also suggested that dating violence is associated with posttraumatic stress disorder and major depressive episode after controlling for demographic variables, other traumatic stressors, and stressful events.
These findings indicate that dating violence is a ificant public health problem in adolescent populations that should be addressed through early detection, prevention, and intervention. These studies have used relatively broad definitions of dating violence, whereas the present study focuses directly on serious forms of dating violence. Although there is a ificant body of literature examining the prevalence of dating violence in adulthood, it is expected that adolescent and adult dating relationships differ in ificant ways relating to contextual, social, developmental, and familial influences.
It is important to identify populations at particular risk for experiencing dating violence so that researchers, clinicians, and other youth-serving professionals know where to focus their efforts for further assessment as well as when and with whom they should intervene. To date, studies conducted with adolescents have generally used broad definitional criteria for dating violence and have reported prevalence estimates ranging from 3.
First, studies have generally reported higher prevalence estimates for girls than boys, 5 , 16 with a few exceptions. Of the few studies examining age as a predictor of dating violence, almost none has used an adolescent sample. One study using an adolescent sample found that age was unrelated to risk for dating violence. Several studies have investigated the relation between dating violence and psychopathology in teens.
Although work has greatly extended our knowledge of the problem of dating violence in adolescence, there are several limitations to the existing research. First, many studies have used relatively small sample sizes. Second, many studies used convenience samples that likely have limited generalizability. Third, most studies have focused on adult samples; few have recruited adolescents. Fourth, many of the studies that have focused on adolescents limited their samples to narrow age groups that do not allow for comparisons between younger and older adolescents.
Fifth, methodologies and operational definitions of dating violence have varied widely across studies. Sixth, few studies have carefully explored the relations between dating violence and mental health outcomes in multivariable models. Using a large, national sample of adolescents ages 12 to 17, the present study attempted to shed light on the population prevalence of serious forms of dating violence in adolescence. Prevalence is determined for each of these three subtypes. In addition, this study attempts to resolve discrepancies in the literature and further our understanding of variables associated with dating violence.
Finally, we examined the relation between dating violence and psychopathology by assessing whether dating violence is associated with PTSD and a major depressive episode MDE , controlling for key demographic and other relevant variables in multivariable analyses.
The primary goals of the NSA were to identify the population prevalence of major life stressors, such as physical assault, sexual assault, dating violence, and witnessed violence in the home, school, and community; identify the population prevalence of specific mental health disorders known to be associated with exposure to traumatic events; examine risk factors associated with violence exposure and mental health outcomes; and make trend comparisons that examine current population prevalence estimates versus estimates generated by a similar study conducted by our research group in with a nationally representative sample of 4, youths ages 12 to 17 years.
Because dating violence was not assessed in the context of the NSA study, we cannot make trend comparisons. The full sample included a national household probability sample and an oversample of urban-dwelling adolescents.
Recruitment of participants began after the study was approved by the institutional review board of the Medical University of South Carolina. During recruitment, 6, households were contacted, which resulted in both a completed parent interview and identification of at least one eligible adolescent. Of these, 1, In 2. Finally, in 1, The remaining 3, cases resulted in completed parent and adolescent interviews.
This included 2, adolescents in the national cross-section and an oversample of 1, urban-dwelling adolescents. Because adolescents were oversampled in urban areas, cases were weighted to maximize representativeness of the sample to the U. Census estimates. Next, weights were created to adjust the weight of each case based on age and sex. We generated sample frequencies by age cohort and sex and compared this distribution to the U.
This procedure resulted in weighted sample distributions that closely approximated U. Serious dating violence was defined as experiencing one or more of the following types of violence from a dating partner i. DAFR was defined as being the victim of unwanted sex i. The DAFR module was administered only to female adolescents, whereas the physical assault and sexual assault modules were administered both to male and female participants.
Lifetime history of serious dating violence was assessed for all three types of dating violence. Participants were assessed to determine whether they experienced any other potentially traumatic events in their lifetime. Nondating violence potentially traumatic events assessed were sexual assault or DAFR by someone other than a partner; physical assault or abuse by someone other than a partner; serious motor vehicle accident, serious accident, fire, or natural disaster; loss of a close friend or loved one due to homicide or drunk driving accident; witnessing community violence; and witnessing parental violence.
Experience of stressful life events occurring in the past year was also assessed. Stressful life events assessed were death of a parent, sibling, or friend; serious and life-threatening illness self, sibling, or parent ; and parental divorce or separation. Research on this measure has provided support for concurrent validity and several forms of reliability e.
Psychometric data support the internal consistency 25 and convergent validity 26 of the depression module. MDE identified by this measure is also associated with lower reported work quality 26 and mental health treatment seeking after controlling key variables and assault history variables. A highly structured telephone interview was deed to collect information across several domains, including demographic variables, traumatic event history, witnessed violence, and mental health history.
Data collection procedures were similar to those used in the National Survey of Adolescents. The structured telephone interview took about 43 minutes to complete. Interviews began with parental consent and a brief parent interview consisting primarily of demographic questions, several of which were later corroborated by the adolescent.
The majority of the interview was conducted with the adolescent. The data used in this study were obtained directly from the adolescent interview. A potential adolescent in danger was identified when an adolescent reported a recent assault incident occurring in the home that had not been reported to someone in authority. All such cases were reported to one of the project co-investigators all doctoral level, d mental health professionals , who then staffed the case with project faculty to determine potential risk for harm and need to recontact.
Only 29 of 3, adolescents 0. In all 29 instances, issues of risk were addressed without the need to break confidentiality. As anticipated, a small percentage of adolescents reported distress on completion of the interview. Adolescents who were distressed were asked whether they were willing to be contacted by one of the project investigators i. In all incidents in which a respondent was recontacted by a project team member under this protocol, the respondent reported no ificant distress during the follow-up telephone call and no further action was necessary.
Participants were considered victims of serious dating violence if they reported experiencing one or more of the following from a boyfriend, girlfriend, or other dating partner: sexual assault; physical assault; or DAFR. Prevalence data are reported first and then risk factor findings are presented. Separate logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify variables within each predictor set i.
ificant predictors emerging from these first-stage analyses were then entered into final multivariable logistic regression analyses for each of these three dependent variables. All of the logistic regression analyses were conducted in survey data analysis to retain the sample weighting.
Overall, the prevalence of serious dating violence among adolescents ages 12 to 17 years was 1. This equates to a population estimate of roughly , U. Sexual assault was the most common form of serious dating violence with a prevalence of 0. Next, the prevalence of physical assault in the context of dating violence was 0.
Across the three types of dating violence, prevalence for boys was generally lower, with a 0. For girls, prevalence estimates were 2. Table 1 shows the prevalence estimates at every age and for each racial group. of the final logistic regression are provided in Table 2. As noted above, an initial set of logistic regression analyses was first conducted to identify variables to be included in final model analyses.
Variables that are not included in our final model analyses e. In the final model, the following variables all coded dichotomously were associated with ificantly greater risk for experiencing dating violence: older age group to year-olds, odds ratio [OR] 2. The final model Table 3 included age, sex, history of other traumatic event, recent stressful event, and dating violence. Thus, dating violence uniquely contributed to the model beyond variance ed for by demographic and stressor variables.Free Charleston South Carolina dating and sex
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Prevalence and Correlates of Dating Violence in a National Sample of Adolescents