199832 An examination of dating violence among sexual minority youth

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:15 PM

Tameka L. Gillum, PhD , Department of Public Health, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Research has revealed a disturbingly high prevalence of dating violence (DV) among American youth. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) estimate victimization rates of approximately 10% while community-based assessments reveal rates for perpetration and victimization as high as 19-67%. This research, however, has not tended to focus on sexual minority youth. Efforts to assess DV among this population have been minimal but reveal disturbing results. The recent Massachusetts YRBS documented that sexual minority youth were significantly more likely than heterosexual youth to experience DV (35% vs. 8%) and limited community-based assessments reveal rates for perpetration and victimization of 25-57% among this population.

Research has shown that victims of intimate partner violence are at increased risk for a number of adverse health outcomes including compromised sexual health, PTSD, depression, sleep disturbances, chronic pain, fatigue, injury, STIs (including HIV/AIDS), mortality, disability, gastrointestinal, gynecological, and substance abuse problems, reproductive disorders, poor pregnancy outcomes, and worse overall general health.

Teen DV has been linked with increased engagement in early sexual activity, unprotected sex, substance use, and greater number of lifetime sex partners. These problems are compounded in a population already at increased risk for negative health outcomes (resulting from hate crime victimization and societal homophobia), and are worse for sexual minorities of color, who often face racism as well.

These findings demonstrate the importance of understanding DV among sexual minority youth. This talk will present results from a study designed to explore DV among this population and its link to health outcomes.

Learning Objectives:
1. To explain the issue of dating violence (past and current) in a sample of college aged sexual minority youth 2. To identify whether experiences of dating violence (DV) are associated with poor mental and/or physical health outcomes among this population 3. To demonstrate whether experiences of dating violence as an adolescent are correlated with experiences of DV as a college student among this population.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I secured funding for and was the principal investigator for the study whose results would be presented. I am a university faculty member who has done numerous conference presentations.
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.