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Identification of Patterns of Dating Aggression and Victimization Among Urban Early Adolescents and Their Relations to Mental Health Symptoms

NCJ Number
Psychology of Violence Volume: 7 Issue: 1 Dated: 2017 Pages: 58-68
Date Published
11 pages
This article reports on a study whose objective was to identify patterns of dating aggression and victimization in urban early adolescents and their relations to mental health symptoms.
Participants were students in three urban public middle schools who reported having a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past 3 months (n=938). The sample had a mean age of 13.3 years old, was 52 percent female, 73 percent African American, 13 percent Hispanic or Latino, 15 percent multi-racial, 4 percent White, and 8 percent other races. Participants reported their frequency of experiencing and perpetrating 10 dating aggression behaviors. Latent class analysis identified typologies of dating aggression and victimization. The best fitting model was a five-class model that classified youth as uninvolved (54.6 percent), victims (8.3 percent), aggressors (9.7 percent), psychologically aggressive victims (22.0 percent), and aggressive victims (5.4 percent). Groups also differed on measures of trauma-related distress and problem behaviors, specifically physical aggression, even after consideration of exposure to community violence. These findings suggest that subtypes of dating aggression exist in middle school that are characterized by differing levels and types of involvement and relations to mental health symptoms. The results indicate the need for prevention and intervention programs that focus on early adolescent dating aggression and the prevention of trauma-related distress and problem behaviors (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017