Violence perpetration across peer and partner relationships: co-occurrence and longitudinal patterns among adolescents

Emily J Ozer, Jeanne M Tschann, Lauri A Pasch, Elena Flores
Journal of Adolescent Health 2004, 34 (1): 64-71

PURPOSE: To examine the co-occurrence and consistency over time of peer violence, sexual aggression, and dating violence among European American and Mexican-American adolescent boys and girls.

METHODS: One-hundred-twelve girls and 135 boys who were either European American or Mexican-American were recruited from a large health maintenance organization. They were interviewed by telephone at baseline (at ages 16 to 20 years) and at one-year follow-up. Variable-centered and person-centered analyses examined the co-occurrence of violent behavior across domains, and whether adolescents who engaged in violent behavior at baseline also engaged in violent behavior during the following year.

RESULTS: Results indicated that adolescent boys who engaged in violence in one domain were more likely to engage in violence in other domains during the same time period. Results for girls were less consistent. For boys but not girls, perpetration of either sexual aggression or peer violence was a significant predictor of the same behavior at follow-up. Person-centered analyses indicated that boys who perpetrated both peer violence and sexual aggression at baseline were most likely to perpetrate later violence.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that adolescent boys who engage in peer violence are also at risk for perpetrating sexual aggression or dating violence. Boys who perpetrate peer violence and sexual aggression are at high risk for later violence. Interventions with a dual focus on peer and partner violence may be valuable.

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