Patterns of Dating Violence Perpetration and Victimization in U.S. Young Adult Males and Females

Rachael A. Spencer, Lynette M. Renner, Cari Jo Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Dating violence (DV) is frequently reported by young adults in intimate relationships in the United States, but little is known about patterns of DV perpetration and victimization. In this study, we examined sexual and physical violence perpetration and victimization reported by young adults to determine how the violence patterns differ by sex and race/ethnicity. Data from non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic participants in Wave 3 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health were analyzed. DV was assessed using responses to four questions focused on perpetration and four questions focused on victimization. The information on DV was taken from the most violent relationship reported by participants prior to Wave 3. Latent class analysis was first conducted separately by sex, adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, and financial stress, then by race/ethnicity, adjusting for age and financial stress. Relative model fit was established by comparing Bayesian Information Criteria (BIC), adjusted BIC, entropy, interpretability of latent classes, and certainty of latent class assignment for covariate-adjusted models. The results indicate that patterns of violence differed by sex and for females, by race/ethnicity. A three-class model was the best fit for males. For females, separate four-class models were parsimonious for White, Black, and Hispanic females. Financial stress was a significant predictor of violence classification for males and females and age predicted membership in White and Black female models. Variations in DV patterns by sex and race/ethnicity suggest the need for a more nuanced understanding of differences in DV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2576-2597
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number15
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • bidirectional violence
  • dating violence
  • intervention
  • youth violence

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