Research among adults has shown that younger age is a consistent risk factor for experiencing and perpetrating intimate partner violence. However, no representative epidemiologic studies of lifetime prevalence of dating violence among adolescents have been conducted.
After controlling for the effects of potentially confounding demographics and risk behaviors, data from both surveys indicate that physical and sexual dating violence against adolescent girls is associated with increased risk of substance use eg, cocaine use for , odds ratio [OR], 4.
Intimate partner violence IPV against women is a major public health concern. Estimates from a recent large-scale, nationally representative survey 1 indicate that more than 1. Research among adults has shown that younger age is a consistent risk factor for experiencing and perpetrating IPV. Most IPV is directed at women. The rate of violence against females by intimate partners is 3 to 6 times that of IPV against males.
For these reasons, research and prevention efforts are appropriately focused on violence against female partners. A broad range of physical and mental health concerns have been shown to be associated with IPV among women, 13 and similar morbidity risks are considered likely for adolescents.
Public health surveillance surveys represent an important opportunity to collect representative data on the extent of behaviors or experiences that threaten the health of young people and to examine associations among these risk factors.
Because lack of such information is a major barrier to improvement of identification, treatment, and efforts to prevent adolescent dating violence, inclusion of queries related to dating violence in such surveys has been recommended.
The present analyses 1 provide estimates of the lifetime prevalence of physical and sexual dating violence, 2 identify demographic characteristics of those most at risk, and 3 assess dating violence history as a predictor of behaviors related to major areas of adolescent health risk substance use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, and suicidality.
States also have the option of including additional questions to assess other adolescent health concerns. In , Massachusetts became the first state to include a question assessing lifetime prevalence of physical and sexual violence from dating partners on the YRBS. The Massachusetts YRBS was administered in both and to 9th through 12th-grade students in randomly selected classrooms within selected public high schools throughout the state.
The probability of an individual school being selected was proportional to its enrollment. All students, including those assigned to special education and limited English proficiency classrooms, were eligible. Using an identical method, 67 Massachusetts public high schools were chosen to participate in the YRBS.
Student participation rates for both surveys were similar to attendance levels on the days of survey administrations.
For both years of the survey, less than 0. Scores from individual students were weighted based on demographics of all students attending Massachusetts public high schools to provide rates that accurately reflect this population.
These procedures are described in detail elsewhere. Sample Demographics The survey included female participants; the survey included Female participants in both surveys were fairly evenly distributed across age groups and grades. Most female students were white Measures Each variable was assessed via a single item. Physical and sexual forms of dating violence against adolescent girls were assessed in the present study.
Participants were asked if they had "ever been hurt physically or sexually by a date or someone they were going out with. This would include being shoved, slapped, hit, or forced into any sexual activity.
Construct validity of this assessment is indicated by the high percentage of those reporting sexual dating violence who also indicated ever experiencing forced sexual contact Reliability ie, replicability of this dating violence assessment will be examined through separate analyses of and YRBS data sets and tandem presentation of respective results. Substance use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, and suicidality were also measured.
Reliability of these measures has been demonstrated elsewhere. To better understand these relationships, potential confounders health risks and demographics found to be associated with both dating violence variables and health risk outcomes were entered into multiple logistic regression equations assessing all forms of dating violence as predictors of health risk behaviors. In accordance with procedures recommended by Rothman and Greenland,