JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dating violence among male and female youth seeking emergency department care

Vijay Singh, Maureen A Walton, Lauren K Whiteside, Sarah Stoddard, Quyen Epstein-Ngo, Stephen T Chermack, Rebecca M Cunningham
Annals of Emergency Medicine 2014, 64 (4): 405-412.e1
24993689

STUDY OBJECTIVE: We determine prevalence and correlates of dating violence, dating victimization, and dating aggression among male and female patients aged 14 to 20 years seeking emergency department (ED) care.

METHODS: This was a systematic sampling of subjects aged 14 to 20 years seeking care at a single large academic ED between September 2010 and March 2013. Participants completed a computerized, self-administered, cross-sectional survey of demographics, dating violence from physical abuse measures of the Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationships Inventory, associated behaviors, and ED health service use. Separate analyses were conducted for male and female patients.

RESULTS: Four thousand three hundred eighty-nine youths (86.1% participation rate) were screened, and 4,089 (mean age 17.5 years; 58% female patients) were eligible for analysis. Almost 1 in 5 female patients (n=215; 18.4%) and 1 in 8 male patients (n=212; 12.5%) reported past-year dating violence. Of female patients, 10.6% reported dating victimization and 14.6% dating aggression, whereas of male patients, 11.7% reported dating victimization and 4.9% reported dating aggression. Multivariate analyses showed that variables associated with any male dating violence were black race (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.26; 95% CI 1.54 to 3.32), alcohol misuse (AOR 1.03; 95% CI 1.00 to 1.06), illicit drug use (AOR 2.38; 95% CI 1.68 to 3.38), and depression (AOR 2.13; 95% CI 1.46 to 3.10); any female dating violence was associated with black race (AOR 1.68; 95% CI 1.25 to 2.25), public assistance (AOR 1.64; 95% CI 1.28 to 2.09), grades D and below (AOR 1.62; 95% CI 1.07 to 2.43), alcohol misuse (AOR 1.04; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.07), illicit drug use (AOR 2.85; 95% CI 2.22 to 3.66), depression (AOR 1.86; 95% CI 1.42 to 2.44), and any past year ED visit for intentional injury (AOR 2.64; 95% CI 1.30 to 5.40).

CONCLUSION: Nearly 1 of 6 male and female patients aged 14 to 20 years and seeking ED care report recent dating violence, and health disparities remain among this population. Dating violence was strongly associated with alcohol, illicit drug use, and depression and correlated with previous ED service use among female youths. ED interventions should consider addressing these associated health conditions, as well as improving screening protocols to address dating violence among male and female youths.

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