BACKGROUND: This study identifies potentially modifiable risk factors for the onset of and chronic victimization from serious physical and sexual dating violence. METHODS: One thousand two hundred ninety-one 8th and 9th graders from a county in North Carolina were assessed annually for 5 and 4 years, respectively. RESULTS: For males, having been hit by an adult with the intention of harm, having low self-esteem, and having been in a physical fight with a peer predicted onset of serious physical dating violence victimization. Those variables, plus having a friend who has been a victim of dating violence, alcohol use, and being white, predicted chronic victimization for males. For females, onset of serious physical dating violence victimization was predicted by having been hit by an adult; that variable, plus living in a single-parent household, predicted chronic victimization from serious physical violence. Also for females, onset of sexual violence victimization was predicted by having a friend who has been the victim of dating violence and being depressed; those variables and gender stereotyping predicted chronic victimization from sexual dating violence. CONCLUSIONS: The findings identify high-risk groups and risk factors to target for intervention and have implications for approaches to delivering dating violence prevention programs
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400, USA foshee@emailunceduFAU
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A sample of 1,291 8th and 9th grade students was assessed annually over a 4 and 5 year period to identify predictors for onset of chronic victimization of physical and sexual dating violence. The study examined male and female students separately for physical dating violence and only examined sexual violence among females. Using the social ecological model of human development, risk factors were categorized by social environmental predictors and individual level predictors. Based on the results, the authors identified four groups to target with interventions to prevent serious physical and sexual dating violence. The groups were; adolescents that had previously experienced mild forms of dating violence, victims of parental violence, adolescents who have friends that are victims of dating violence, and adolescents with multiple risk factors.