Dating Violence Among Youths Tied to Peer, Sibling Violence

Substance use, weapon carrying, delinquency also linked to dating violence

TUESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Perpetration of dating violence often overlaps with violence against peers and siblings among high school students, and it is likely to be one of many co-occurring adolescent problem behaviors, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

In a cross-sectional study, Emily F. Rothman, of the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues evaluated 1,398 urban high school students from 22 public high schools who participated in the Boston Youth Survey, implemented January through April of 2008. The investigators assessed the co-occurrence of past month physical assault of a dating partner and violence against peers and siblings.

The investigators found that 18.7 percent of students reported past-month perpetration of physical dating violence, with 41.2 percent of students reporting peer violence and 31.2 percent reporting sibling violence. The perpetration of dating violence only was 7.9 percent among violence perpetrators. The investigators found that the association between sibling violence and dating violence was strong for both boys and girls (adjusted prevalence ratios, 3.81 and 1.83, respectively), as was the association between peer violence and dating violence perpetration (5.13 and 2.57, respectively). Dating violence perpetration was also tied to substance use, knife carrying, delinquency, and exposure to community violence.

"Because the proportion of overlapping self-reported violence perpetration across relationship contexts was high, these findings provide continued empirical support for advancing violence prevention using a more integrated approach," writes the author of an accompanying editorial. "This integrated approach should consider a broader range of violent experiences and be applied to future research and the development and evaluation of new prevention strategies."

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