Online Program

Dating Violence/Abuse and Sexual Risk Taking: A Survey of African American and Latino Adolescents

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Lynn Roberts, PhD, Community Health and Social Sciences, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, New York, NY
Olivia Orta, Doctoral Candidate, Epidemiology, Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Brenda Seals, PhD, MPH, Center for Asian Health, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
BACKGROUND: African American and Latino youth living in HIV/AIDS epicenters continue to be at high risk for violence, often from sexual relationships. Studies of family violence prevention need to include the lived experiences of urban youth including discrimination, dating violence and sexual relationships in order to develop effective interventions. 

METHODS: Urban, African American and Latino adolescents were recruited from two high schools and one youth community organization.  The survey included multiple measures of: 1) experienced discrimination; 2) dating abuse and violence; and 3) sexual risk taking. 

RESULTS: Participants were primarily female (63.6%) aged 16.3 (sd=1.6). Students reported a high prevalence of violence (6.0% reporting no form of emotion, physical or sexual dating abuse), discrimination (76.8% any form) and being sexually active (72.2%). Reported sexual relationships were primarily longer term (48.1% lasting 1-2 years; 24% 3-4 years and 18.3% 5 or more years. Discrimination correlated with: a) being a victim of dating abuse (r=.245, p<.01), b) being a perpetrator of dating abuse (r=.357, p<.01); c) anal intercourse (r=.205, p< .05), (d) oral intercourse (r=.190, p < .05), and (e) any type of intercourse (r=.214, p< .05).

DISCUSSION:  Adolescence is a critical period one’s life stage to prevent future family violence. Research on family violence needs to include experienced discrimination as a possible mediator explaining youth dating relationship violence and sexual risk. Socioecological intervention approaches may be needed to prevent and diminish discrimination and subsequent violence. Future research needs to address causality in violence, discrimination and sexual risk taking.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe violent dating relationships in African American and Latino urban youth. Identify sexual risk health concerns facing adolescents in violent and abusive dating relationships. Explain the role that discrimination plays in increasing risk of violence. Discuss family intervention approaches to address youth dating violence and policy implications.

Keyword(s): Violence & Injury Prevention, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a professor of Public Health at Hunter College, I have published and served as the principal investigator for the current study. I am an expert on health disparities for African Americans and Latinos and have worked in violence prevention for many years.
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.