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Experience of Dating Violence Among Latino Adolescents

NCJ Number
Chiara Sabina; Carlos Cuevas
Date Published
April 2013
14 pages
This study examined the prevalence of dating violence in a sample of male and female Latino adolescents, its coexistence with other victimization forms, victim help-seeking, cultural factors relevant to dating violence, the psychological impact on victims, and the role of social resources in mitigating the impact of dating violence.
The study found that 19.5 percent of the 1,525 Latino adolescents (average age of 14.85 years) who were interviewed had experienced dating violence in the past year. Psychological dating violence was the most frequent type of victimization (14.8 percent), followed by physical violence (6.6 percent), sexual violence (5.6 percent), and stalking violence (1 percent). Seventy-one percent of dating-violence victims also had experienced at least one other form of victimization in the past year. Help-seeking efforts were determined for a subset of those who had experienced physical, sexual, and/or stalking dating violence (not psychological). Overall, 15.6 percent of these victims sought help from a formal source, most likely from school personnel (9.2 percent). Informal help was most likely sought from a friend (42.9 percent). Approximately 37 percent of victims sought neither formal nor informal help. Boys were significantly less likely than girls to seek formal help. Regarding cultural factors, those who were high on Latino orientation had lower odds of experiencing any dating violence than those low on Latino orientation. This could be attributed to a cultural emphasis on family support, connectedness, and the welfare of the collective group. Immigrant status did not affect the likelihood of experiencing dating violence. Victims of dating violence self-reported symptoms of psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, and hostility. Seven recommendations focus on improving the effectiveness of prevention and intervention efforts. Suggestions include education for teens that addresses all forms of dating violence, including psychological dating violence. Methodology is described in detail. 5 figures and 14 references