Substance Use as a Longitudinal Predictor of the Perpetration of Teen Dating Violence
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The prevention of teen dating violence is a major public health priority. However, the dearth of longitudinal studies makes it difficult to develop programs that effectively target salient risk factors. Using a school-based sample of ethnically diverse adolescents, this longitudinal study examined whether substance use (alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs) and exposure to parental violence predicted the perpetration of physical dating violence over time. 1,042 9th and 10th grade high schools students were recruited and assessed in the spring of 2010, and 93 % of the original sample completed the 1-year follow-up in the spring of 2011. Participants who had begun dating at the initial assessment and who self-identified as African American (n = 263; 32 %), Caucasian (n = 272; 33 %), or Hispanic (n = 293; 35 %) were included in the current analyses (n = 828; 55 % female). Slightly more than half of the adolescents who perpetrated dating violence at baseline reported past year dating violence at follow-up, relative to only 11 % of adolescents who did not report perpetrating dating violence at baseline. Structural equation modeling revealed that the use of alcohol and hard drugs at baseline predicted the future perpetration of physical dating violence, even after accounting for the effects of baseline dating violence and exposure to interparental violence. Despite differences in the prevalence of key variables between males and females, the longitudinal associations did not vary by gender. With respect to race, exposure to mother-to-father violence predicted the perpetration of dating violence among Caucasian adolescents. Findings from the current study indicate that targeting substance use, and potentially youth from violent households, may be viable approaches to preventing the perpetration of teen dating violence.
KeywordsTeen dating violence Substance use Adolescents Gender Ethnicity Longitudinal
Dr. Temple is supported by Award Number K23HD059916 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development or the national Institutes of Health. This study was also made possible with funding to Dr. Temple by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health (JRG-082) and the John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund for Biomedical Research. This work would not have been possible without the permission and assistance of the schools and school districts. All authors have made substantial contributions, have been involved in the drafting and revising of the manuscript, and have given final approval of the enclosed version.
JRT is the corresponding author and is responsible for all content. JRT was involved in the conception and design, acquisition of the data, analysis and interpretation of data, and drafting of the manuscript. RCS and PJF were responsible for the analysis and interpretation of the data, and were involved in the drafting and revising of the manuscript. GLS, along with JRT, was responsible for the conception and design, as well as critical revisions of the manuscript. VDL was responsible for the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of the data, as well as drafting and revising of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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