Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

History of dating violence and the association with late adolescent health

Amy E Bonomi123*, Melissa L Anderson3, Julianna Nemeth4, Frederick P Rivara56 and Cynthia Buettner1

Author Affiliations

1 Human Development and Family Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

2 Human Development and Family Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

3 Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA

4 College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

5 School of Public Health and Community Medicine and Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

6 Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:821  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-821

Published: 10 September 2013

Abstract

Background

The present investigation expands upon prior studies by examining the relationship between health in late adolescence and the experience of physical/sexual and non-physical dating violence victimization, including dating violence types that are relevant to today’s adolescents (e.g., harassment via email and text messaging). We examined the relationship between physical/sexual and non-physical dating violence victimization from age 13 to 19 and health in late adolescence/early adulthood.

Methods

The sample comprised 585 subjects (ages 18 to 21; mean age, 19.8, SD = 1.0) recruited from The Ohio State University who completed an online survey to assess: 1) current health (depression, disordered eating, binge drinking, smoking, and frequent sexual behavior); and 2) dating violence victimization from age 13 to 19 (retrospectively assessed using eight questions covering physical, sexual, and non-physical abuse, including technology-related abuse involving stalking/harassment via text messaging and email). Multivariable models compared health indicators in never-exposed subjects to those exposed to physical/sexual or non-physical dating violence only. The multivariable models were adjusted for age and other non-dating abuse victimization (bullying; punched, kicked, choked by a parent/guardian; touched in a sexual place, forced to touch someone sexually).

Results

In adjusted analyses, compared to non-exposed females, females with physical/sexual dating violence victimization were at increased risk of smoking (prevalence ratio = 3.95); depressive symptoms (down/hopeless, PR = 2.00; lost interest, PR = 1.79); eating disorders (using diet aids, PR = 1.98; fasting, PR = 4.71; vomiting to lose weight, PR = 4.33); and frequent sexual behavior (5+ intercourse and oral sex partners, PR = 2.49, PR = 2.02; having anal sex, PR = 2.82). Compared to non-exposed females, females with non-physical dating violence only were at increased risk of smoking (PR = 3.61), depressive symptoms (down/hopeless, PR = 1.41; lost interest, PR = 1.36), eating disorders (fasting, PR = 3.37; vomiting, PR = 2.66), having 5+ intercourse partners (PR = 2.20), and having anal sex (PR = 2.18). For males, no health differences were observed for those experiencing physical/sexual dating violence compared to those who did not. Compared to non-exposed males, males with non-physical dating violence only were at increased risk of smoking (PR = 3.91) and disordered eating (fasting, using diet aids, vomiting, PR = 2.93).

Conclusions

For females, more pronounced adverse health was observed for those exposed to physical/sexual versus non-physical dating violence. For both females and males, non-physical dating violence victimization contributed to poor health.

Keywords:
Adolescents; Adolescent sexual behavior; Dating violence; Depression; Eating disorders