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The Peer Context and the Development of the Perpetration of Adolescent Dating Violence

Abstract

The peer context is a central focus in research on adolescent risk behaviors but few studies have investigated the role of the peer context in the perpetration of adolescent dating violence. This longitudinal study examined between-subjects and within-person contemporaneous and lagged effects of peer attributes, measured with social network analyses, on trajectories of dating violence perpetration and determined if effects varied by grade and/or sex of the adolescent. Data are from adolescents who participated in a five-wave panel study beginning when they were in 7 through 9th grade and ending when they were in 10 through 12th grade (n = 3,412); half were male, 40.5 % were white, 49.9 % were black and 10.4 % were of another race/ethnicity. Significant between-subjects effects indicate that adolescents who typically have friends who use dating violence, and girls who are typically high in social status, are at increased risk for using dating violence throughout adolescence. Adolescents who typically have high quality friendships and girls who typically have friends with pro-social beliefs are at decreased risk for using dating violence throughout adolescence. Significant within-person contemporaneous effects indicate that both boys and girls reported lower levels of dating violence than usual at times when they had more friends with pro-social beliefs, and reported higher levels of dating violence than usual at times when they had higher social status. None of the lagged effects were significant and none of the effects varied across grade. These findings suggest that the peer context plays an important role in the development of the perpetration of adolescent dating violence.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA16669) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (R49 CCV423114).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Author contributions

VF conceived of the study, co-led the collection of the data, and drafted the manuscript. TB performed the statistical analyses and participated in writing sections of the manuscript related to measurement and statistical analysis. HLMR contributed to the overall analytical approach, contributed to the interpretation of the findings, contributed to substantive content of the paper, and wrote sections of the manuscript. STE co-led the collection of the data, was responsible for social network measurement, and participated in the writing of the manuscript. RF contributed to the measurement and conceptualization of the social network measures. LTC contributed to the substantive content of the paper and helped to draft the manuscript. AH contributed to the overall analytical approach and contributed to the interpretation of the findings. CS contributed to the overall analytical approach and contributed to the interpretation of the findings. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Foshee, V.A., Benefield, T.S., Reyes, H.L.M. et al. The Peer Context and the Development of the Perpetration of Adolescent Dating Violence. J Youth Adolescence 42, 471–486 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-9915-7

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Keywords

  • Adolescent dating violence
  • Dating abuse
  • Peer context
  • Social network analyses