Violence Involvement, Substance Use, and Sexual Activity Among Mexican-American and European-American Adolescents

Sonya S. Brady, Jeanne M. Tschann, Lauri A. Pasch, Elena Flores, Emily J. Ozer

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41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study examined longitudinal associations between violence involvement, substance use, and sexual activity. Methods: A total of 302 urban Mexican-American and European-American adolescents were randomly selected and recruited from the membership lists of a large health maintenance organization. Data were obtained from interviews conducted when the mean ages of adolescents were 15, 18, and 19 years. Results: Independent of age, gender, ethnicity, family socioeconomic status, and previous levels of health risk behavior, adolescents who had been victimized by violence at age 15 were more likely to use tobacco at age 19. Adolescents who had been victimized by or perpetrated violence at age 18 had a greater number of sexual partners and were more likely to use marijuana at age 19. In addition, adolescents who had perpetrated violence at age 18 engaged in greater alcohol use at age 19. A second set of analyses showed that independent of demographics and previous violence involvement, adolescents who had used marijuana at age 15 were more likely to report violence involvement at age 19. Adolescents who had used tobacco or who had a greater number of sexual partners at ages 15 or 18 were more likely to report violent victimization at age 19. Conclusions: Associations between violence involvement and other forms of health risk behavior are bidirectional. Adolescents involved with violence are at risk for increases in substance use and sexual behavior over time. Adolescents who engage in substance use and sexual behavior with multiple partners are also at risk for later violence involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-295
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

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Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Perpetration
  • Sexual behavior
  • Substance use
  • Victimization
  • Violence
  • Violence involvement
  • sexual activity

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