Dating violence among a nationally representative sample of adolescent girls and boys: Associations with behavioral and mental health

Diann M. Ackard, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Peter Hannan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine the prevalence of adolescent dating violence, associations between dating violence and behavioral and mental health, and the percentage of youth who remain in potentially harmful relationships due to a fear of being hurt if they leave. Methods: A nationally representative population-based sample of 3533 youth in 9th through 12th grades completed the Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Boys and Girls. Results: Overall, 17% of girls and 9% of boys reported adolescent dating violence. Adolescents from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to report dating violence than youth from higher backgrounds. Dating violence was associated with dieting, binge and purge behaviors, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, suicidal thoughts, depression, and poorer self-esteem for both genders. Approximately 50% of girls and boys reporting both physical and sexual dating violence reported staying in relationships out of fear of physical harm. Conclusions: Adolescent dating violence is prevalent among both girls and boys and is associated with detriments to behavioral and mental health. Youth in potentially harmful relationships may remain due to fear of being physically hurt if they leave. Clinical implications addressing both girls and boys are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Gender-Specific Medicine
Volume6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 22 2003

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