Examining Dating Violence and Its Mental Health Consequences Among Sexual Minority Youth

  • Tameka L. Gillum
  • Gloria T. DiFulvio


Prior research has revealed a disturbingly high prevalence of dating violence among American youth. However, this research has not tended to focus on sexual minority youth. This is of concern as numerous studies have shown that individuals who experience such violence are at increased risk for adverse mental and physical health outcomes, including increased risk of HIV infection among LGBT populations. Research findings also indicate that individuals who are victimized as adolescents are at increased risk for victimization during their college years. This study assessed past and current dating violence (physical, sexual, and psychological aggression—perpetration and victimization) and its relationship to mental health outcomes among a sample of 109 college-enrolled sexual minority youth. Results indicate high rates of all forms of violence among this population during both adolescence and their college years. Physical and psychological perpetration and victimization were found to be associated with negative mental health outcomes including depression and PTSD. Sexual minority youth experience unique stressors that must be considered for appropriate interpretation of these findings and intervention. Implications for future research and practice with this population are presented.


Dating violence Sexual minority youth LGBT Depression PTSD 



The authors wish to thank those who participated in this study, sharing their voices and experiences with us, the research assistant who recruited diligently, and the editors for their invitation to contribute and their helpful feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public HealthUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of Public HealthUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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