JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dating violence, bullying, and sexual harassment: longitudinal profiles and transitions over time

Shari Miller, Jason Williams, Stacey Cutbush, Deborah Gibbs, Monique Clinton-Sherrod, Sarah Jones
Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2013, 42 (4): 607-18
23392699
Although there is growing recognition of the problem of dating violence, little is known about how it unfolds among young adolescents who are just beginning to date. This study examined classes (subgroups) and transitions between classes over three time points based on dating violence, bullying, and sexual harassment perpetration and victimization experienced by youth. The sample was ethnically diverse, consisting of 795 seventh-grade students from schools that were part of a multi-site, longitudinal evaluation of a dating violence initiative (50 % female; 27 % White, 32 % African American, 25 % Latino, 16 % other or multiple races). Results from latent transition analyses revealed five classes of students with distinct behavioral profiles: multi-problem (victimization and perpetration), bullying and sexual harassment (victimization and perpetration), bullying (victimization and perpetration) and sexual harassment (victimization only), bullying (victimization and perpetration), and a least problem group. The majority of classes were characterized by reports of both perpetration and victimization for at least one behavior. Girls were more likely to be in the less problematic classes. Class membership was fairly stable across the three time points. When students transitioned to a different class, the shift was most often from a more problematic to a less problematic class, particularly for girls. The findings support understanding dating violence within a dynamic, developmental process that recognizes related behaviors within and across individuals. Overall, the findings highlight the utility of person-oriented approaches to enhance our understanding of longitudinal profiles and transitions over time for dating violence and related behaviors.

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