Cumulative Incidence of Physical and Sexual Dating Violence: Insights From A Long-term Longitudinal Study

Jeff R. Temple, Elizabeth Baumler, Leila Wood, Kelli Sargent Franco, Melissa Peskin, Christie Shumate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Decades of inquiry on intimate partner violence show consistent results: violence is woefully common and psychologically and economically costly. Policy to prevent and effectively intervene upon such violence hinges upon comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon at a population level. The current study prospectively estimates the cumulative incidence of sexual and physical dating violence (DV) victimization/perpetration over a 12-year timeframe (2010–2021) using diverse participants assessed annually from age 15 to 26. Data are from Waves 1–13 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 (n = 1,042; 56% female; Mage baseline = 15) 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% experienced sexual DV victimization and 46.1% had experienced physical DV victimization by age 26. Further, 14.8% had perpetrated at least one act of sexual DV and 39.0% 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, our findings point to the need for assessing DV on a repeated basis over multiple timepoints to better guage the full extent of this continued public health crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-755
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • emerging adulthood
  • incidence
  • partner violence
  • prevention
  • teen dating violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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