Risk profiles of adolescent girls who were victims of dating violence

Donna E Howard, Min Qi Wang
Adolescence 2003, 38 (149): 1-14
The prevalence of dating violence, as well as its relationship to potential risk factors, was examined among a nationally representative sample of 9th-through 12th-grade U.S. females (N = 7,824) who completed the 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The dependent variable was physical dating violence; the independent variables were violence, suicide, substance use, and sexual risk behavior. Unadjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals were examined, and multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify the most significant risk factors. It was found that nearly one in ten of the adolescent girls reported dating violence. Twelfth-grade girls had the highest prevalence of dating violence. Girls who were victims of dating violence were more likely to be involved in other violent behaviors, to report extreme sadness and suicidal actions, to use illicit substances, and to engage in risky sexual behavior. Multivariate analysis revealed that dating violence was associated with sad/hopeless feelings (OR = 2.13), binge drinking (OR = 1.96), cocaine or inhalant use (OR = 2.90), multiple sex partners (OR = 2.38), nonuse of condoms (OR = 1.53), and ethnicity, specifically being Black (OR = 2.32) or Hispanic (OR = 1.82). These findings provide further evidence that there is a clustering of risk factors among certain adolescents, specifically girls who experience dating violence.

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