176974 Healthy Teens–Can 6th grade characteristics predict dating and dating violence in 9th grade?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Renee A. Simeon, BS , College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Pamela Orpinas, PhD , Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Katherine A. Raczynski, MS , Youth Violence Prevention Workgroup, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Patricia M. Reeves, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Deborah L. Bandalos, PhD , Educational Psychology & Instructional Technology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Purpose: Healthy Teens is a longitudinal study of students followed from middle to high school. In ninth grade, the sample was divided into four mutually exclusive groups: did not date in prior 3 months (35%), dated-no victimization (29%), dated-psychological victimization only (16%), and dated-physical victimization (20%). 9th graders who dated and reported physical victimization fared significantly worse in all but one of the variables studied, while the other three groups did not differ. This presentation examines how these four dating groups, as defined in the 9th grade, fare in 6th grade. Methods: The sample consisted of 629 students (47.4% females; 64% were 15 years old; 50% White, 39% Black, 9% Latino) attending high schools in Northeast Georgia. Based on an ecological model, we compared these four groups on personal (norms about dating, life satisfaction, self-efficacy for alternatives to aggression, drug use, and delinquency), family (family structure, parental support for aggression and alternatives), and school characteristics (value on achievement, academic grades). Results: In 6th and 9th grades, the dated-physical victimization was significantly worse than the first three groups in all variables. Females in the two victimization groups reported significantly higher hopelessness and suicide thoughts than the other groups. Conclusions: The results highlight the many ways that students who are victims of dating violence differ from their peers over several years and that prevention strategies must start early. The implications for prevention will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the prevalence of dating and dating violence in middle and high school. 2.Identify the characteristics associated with psychological and physical dating violence. 3.Explain how four groups of 9th graders based on dating and dating violence (a. did not date, b. dated and were not victimized, c. dated and were victims of psychological abuse only, and d. date and were victims of physical abuse) differed in 6th grade. 4.Identify prevention strategies to help teenagers develop healthy dating relationships.

Keywords: Violence, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on this project for one year, and have conducted data analysis under the supervision of my professor, Dr. Orpinas.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.