Physical dating violence among high school students
Author Affiliations: Department of Community Health Services, Boston University School of Public Health (Drs Rothman, Johnson, and Weinberg), and Harvard School of Public Health (Dr Azrael), Boston, Massachusetts; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Hall).To assess the co-occurrence of past-month physical assault of a dating partner and violence against peers and siblings among a locally representative sample of high school students and to explore correlates of dating violence (DV) perpetration.For the present analysis, respondents who indicated that they had perpetrated physical violence 1 or more times (ie, endorsed items d or e) were classified as having perpetrated physical DV.Respondents were asked to indicate how many times in the past 30 days they had perpetrated various physically violent acts against “kids, including those in your school or neighborhood” but not in their family and not including someone whom they were dating.Respondents were asked to indicate the number of times in the past 30 days that they had perpetrated physically violent acts against “kids in your immediate family, meaning the kids who live in your home.” The acts were identical to those described under peer violence perpetration.Respondents with siblings who reported perpetrating any of the violent acts at least 1 time were classified as perpetrating sibling violence.Research on victims of DV has demonstrated that they are at risk for a range of negative consequences, including death, injury, suicidal thoughts, substance use, disordered eating, and psychiatric disorders.In contrast to the relatively rich information available about victims of DV, far less is known about DV perpetrators and how to prevent their aggression, which may be one of the reasons that only 2 DV prevention programs have been found effective to date.
The demographic composition of the total sample was comparable to the population of Boston public high school students in terms of sex, nativity, race, ethnicity, and age.
Dating violence (DV) is a common adolescent health problem with substantial public health consequences.
As many as 1 in 10 US high school students reports having been “hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend” in the past year.
Adolescents who perpetrated physical DV were also likely to have perpetrated peer and/or sibling violence.
Dating violence is likely one of many co-occurring adolescent problem behaviors, including sibling and peer violence perpetration, substance use, weapon carrying, and academic problems.
Trained staff administered the survey between January and April of 2008 during 50-minute class periods.