Shared Risk Factors for the Perpetration of Physical Dating Violence, Bullying, and Sexual Harassment Among Adolescents Exposed to Domestic Violence
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The high risk of perpetrating physical dating violence, bullying, and sexual harassment by adolescents exposed to domestic violence points to the need for programs to prevent these types of aggression among this group. This study of adolescents exposed to domestic violence examined whether these forms of aggression share risk factors that could be targeted for change in single programs designed to prevent all three types of aggression. Analyses were conducted on 399 mother victims of domestic violence and their adolescents, recruited through community advertising. The adolescents ranged in age from 12 to 16 years; 64 % were female. Generalized estimating equations was used to control for the covariation among the aggression types when testing for shared risk factors. Approximately 70 % of the adolescents reported perpetrating at least one of the three forms of aggression. In models examining one risk factor at a time, but controlling for demographics, adolescent acceptance of sexual violence, mother–adolescent discord, family conflict, low maternal monitoring, low mother–adolescent closeness, low family cohesion, depressed affect, feelings of anger, and anger reactivity were shared across all three aggression types. In multivariable models, which included all of the risk factors examined and the demographic variables, low maternal monitoring, depressed affect and anger reactivity remained significant shared risk factors. Our findings suggest that programs targeting these risk factors for change have the potential to prevent all three forms of aggression. In multivariable models, poor conflict management skills was a risk for bullying and sexual harassment, but not dating violence; acceptance of dating violence was a risk for dating violence and bullying, but not sexual harassment; and none of the examined risk factors were unique to aggression type. The study’s implications for the development of interventions and future research are discussed.
KeywordsAggression among adolescents exposed to domestic violence Physical dating violence Bullying Sexual harassment
This research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC R01CE001867-01; PI Vangie A. Foshee) and an inter-personnel agency agreement (IPA) between Dr. Foshee and the CDC (13IPA1303570) and between Dr. McNaughton Reyes and the CDC (13IPA130569). All persons who contributed to the preparation of this manuscript are included as authors. The study was reviewed and approved by the Public Health-Nursing Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects at UNC-CH.
VF conceived of the study, co-led the collection of the data, directed statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript. HLMR performed the statistical analyses, contributed to the conceptualization of the study, including the analytic approach, and participated in writing sections of the manuscript related to measurement and statistical analysis. MSC conducted analyses that contributed to measures creation, performed targeted literature searches, and contributed to the substantive content of the paper. KCB, SD, and AMVK contributed to the conceptualization of the study, implications of the study findings, and literature support, and participated in the writing of the manuscript. STE, KEM, and JMB contributed to the conceptualization of the study, co-led data collection, contributed to the interpretation of the findings and the implications of findings, and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. Additionally, JMB contributed to the overall analytical approach. All authors read and approved the final version of this manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflict of interests.
All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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