JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dating violence experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth

Meredith Dank, Pamela Lachman, Janine M Zweig, Jennifer Yahner
Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2014, 43 (5): 846-57
23861097
Media attention and the literature on lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth overwhelmingly focus on violence involving hate crimes and bullying, while ignoring the fact that vulnerable youth also may be at increased risk of violence in their dating relationships. In this study, we examine physical, psychological, sexual, and cyber dating violence experiences among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth--as compared to those of heterosexual youth, and we explore variations in the likelihood of help-seeking behavior and the presence of particular risk factors among both types of dating violence victims. A total of 5,647 youth (51 % female, 74 % White) from 10 schools participated in a cross-sectional anonymous survey, of which 3,745 reported currently being in a dating relationship or having been in one during the prior year. Results indicated that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are at higher risk for all types of dating violence victimization (and nearly all types of dating violence perpetration), compared to heterosexual youth. Further, when looking at gender identity, transgender and female youth are at highest risk of most types of victimization, and are the most likely perpetrators of all forms of dating violence but sexual coercion, which begs further exploration. The findings support the development of dating violence prevention programs that specifically target the needs and vulnerabilities of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, in addition to those of female and transgender youth.

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