Individual and Relationship Characteristics of Adolescent Girls With Histories of Physical Dating Violence

Christie J. Rizzo, Meredith C. Joppa, David Barker, Caron Zlotnick, Justine Warren, Hans Saint-Eloi Cadely, Larry K. Brown

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Abstract

The objective of this article is to examine the individual and relational characteristics of adolescent girls with a history of physical DV, as well as to utilize partner-specific, temporal data to explore links between these factors and recent or ongoing DV experiences. Participants were 109 high school girls (ages 14-17) identified as having a history of DV through a school-based screening procedure. Details regarding the timing of DV and links with specific dating partners were gathered using Timeline Followback (TLFB) interview methodology. At study entry, 30% endorsed clinical levels of depression symptoms and 89% reported delinquent behaviors. Forty-four percent reported vaginal intercourse in their lifetime and of those, 35% reported not using a condom at last sex. During the 90 days prior to study entry, 69% of youth reported having a romantic relationship and 58% of those youth reported physical/sexual violence. Data revealed that more physical/sexual violence was associated with longer relationship length, Wald χ2(2) = 1,142.63, p <.001. Furthermore, depressive symptoms, not delinquency, contributed significantly to recent DV experiences, even when relationship length was controlled. Our findings suggest that prevention programs for this population should teach participants how to quickly recognize unhealthy relationship characteristics, as violence severity increases with relationship length. Programs for adolescent girls should also address depressive symptoms, which are linked to DV severity when other risks are taken into account. Finally, the TLFB calendar method appears useful for gathering the temporal and partner-specific data needed to understand the complexity of dating relationships and violence experiences in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1414
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume35
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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