This paper discusses an examination of sexual and physical dating violence victimization and perpetration over a 12-year timeframe among high school students; it reports on prevalence estimates and public health implications.
The current study prospectively estimates the cumulative incidence of sexual and physical dating violence (DV) victimization and perpetration over a 12-year timeframe, from 2010 to 2021, using diverse participants assessed annually from age 15 to 26. Data are from Waves one to 13 of an ongoing longitudinal study. Since 2010 (except for 2018 and 2019), participants were assessed on past-year physical and sexual DV victimization and perpetration. Participants were originally recruited from seven public high schools in southeast Texas. The sample consisted of black/African American (30%), white (31%), Hispanic (31%), and mixed/other (8%) participants. Across 12 years of data collection, 27.3 percent experienced sexual DV victimization and 46.1 percent had experienced physical DV victimization by age 26. Further, 14.8 percent had perpetrated at least one act of sexual DV and 39.0 percent had perpetrated at least one act of physical DV against a partner by this age. A 12-year cumulative assessment of physical and sexual DV rendered prevalence estimates of both victimization and perpetration that exceeded commonly and consistently reported rates in the field, especially on studies that relied on lifetime or one-time specified retrospective reporting periods. These data suggest community youth are at continued and sustained risk for DV onset across the transition into emerging adulthood, necessitating early adolescent prevention and intervention efforts that endure through late adolescence, emerging adulthood, and beyond. From a research perspective, the authors’ findings point to the need for assessing DV on a repeated basis over multiple timepoints to better gauge the full extent of this continued public health crisis. Publisher Abstract Provided
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