The Moderating Influence of School Adult Connectedness on Adolescent Dating Violence and Mental Health

Pooja Brar, Maura Shramko, Sarah Taylor, Marla Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Adolescent dating violence (ADV) continues to be a health concern. Most previous research has examined physical and or sexual ADV with little attention to verbal violence. Methods: Drawing on the social-ecological framework, the current study examined the moderating influence of school adult connectedness on experiences of verbal only, physical and/or sexual violence (combination ADV), and mental health outcomes among 11th graders (n = 31,459) in one Midwestern state. Results: Overall, 24.0% and 28.8% of adolescents met thresholds for depression and anxiety symptoms, respectively. Rates of mental health symptoms were higher among adolescents reporting ADV compared to those who did not report experience of ADV. In logistic regressions, higher level of school adult connectedness was associated with lower odds of depressive and anxiety symptoms, respectively. In moderation analyses, school adult connectedness was protective for mental health outcomes regardless of ADV experience. Conclusion: Adolescent dating violence—including verbal violence alone—can be traumatic for young people. Schools can leverage the protective nature of school adult connection to promote mental health for all students, including adolescents who have experienced ADV. Incorporating trauma-informed education practice of providing unconditional positive regard toward adolescents might be 1-way schools can support adolescents in cultivating healthy relationships and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-304
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of School Health
Volume93
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American School Health Association.

Keywords

  • dating violence
  • mental health
  • school adult connectedness
  • verbal violence

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