The purpose of the present study was to determine whether dating violence victimization (psychological, physical, and sexual) and substance use (alcohol and marijuana) predicted sexual behaviors that increase risk for poor outcomes from ages 15–19. Adolescents (N = 1042; 56% female) were recruited from high schools in Southeast Texas in 2010 and followed annually for six years. The mean age of the sample at baseline was 15.09 (SD = 0.79). Participants primarily identified as Hispanic (31.4%), White (29.4%), and Black/African American (27.9%). Participants completed measures of dating violence victimization, substance use, and sexual behaviors annually. We examined unique and interactive associations between substance use and dating violence victimization with sexual behaviors that increase risk for poor outcomes. Multilevel modeling demonstrated that, when examining predictors simultaneously, marijuana use and psychological victimization predicted sexual behaviors over time for males. For females, marijuana use, and physical and psychological victimization all predicted sexual behaviors over time, with marijuana exerting the strongest effect, particularly among females who also used alcohol. Prevention efforts for adolescent sexual behaviors that increase risk for poor outcomes should include a focus on reducing substance use, particularly marijuana, and the effects of dating violence victimization.
- Dating violence
- Sexual behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health