Prevalence and correlates of adolescent dating violence: baseline study of a cohort of 7,960 male and female Mexican public school students

Leonor Rivera-Rivera, Betania Allen-Leigh, Graciela Rodríguez-Ortega, Rubén Chávez-Ayala, Eduardo Lazcano-Ponce
Preventive Medicine 2007, 44 (6): 477-84

INTRODUCTION: Factors correlated with adolescent dating violence have yet to be documented in most developing countries; this study assesses the prevalence and correlates of victimization with and perpetration of dating violence among Mexican youth.

METHODS: This was the baseline measurement (1998-1999) of a cohort of 7960 public school students (11-24 years) developed to explore various health behaviors in Mexican youth. Multinomial logistic regression models were constructed with adolescent dating violence as the dependent variable.

RESULTS: Prevalence of dating violence victimization was 9.37% (female) and 8.57% (male) for psychological violence; 9.88% (female) and 22.71% (male) for physical violence, and 8.63% (female) and 15.15% (male) for both psychological and physical violence. Prevalence of perpetration was 4.21% (female) and 4.33% (male) for psychological violence; 20.99% (female) and 19.54% (male) for physical violence; and 7.48% (female) and 5.51% (male) for both types of violence. Factors associated with dating violence victimization for both genders included: two or more lifetime sexual partners and intra-familial violence. Higher age, alcohol use and illegal drug use were significantly associated with victimization only among girls. The following were significantly associated with perpetration of dating violence in both genders: gang membership, illegal drug use, two or more lifetime sexual partners and intra-familial violence. Higher age and alcohol use were significantly associated with perpetration only among girls. High or middle socio-economic status was associated with perpetration only in boys.

CONCLUSIONS: Future research on adolescent dating violence in Mexico should further explore severity and frequency of violent behaviors, include a focus on severe dating violence and take into account the context and meaning of dating violence. A longitudinal design that allows determination of causality will also be needed in order to develop prevention strategies.

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