National estimates of teen dating violence (TDV) reveal high rates of victimization among high school populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national Youth Risk Behavior Survey has provided often-cited estimates of physical TDV since 1999. In 2013, revisions were made to the physical TDV question to capture more serious forms of physical TDV and to screen out students who did not date. An additional question was added to assess sexual TDV.
To describe the content of new physical and sexual TDV victimization questions first administered in the 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, to share data on the prevalence and frequency of TDV (including the first-ever published overall “both physical and sexual TDV” and “any TDV” national estimates using these new questions), and to assess associations of TDV experience with health-risk behaviors.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Secondary data analysis of a cross-sectional survey of 9900 students who dated, from a nationally representative sample of US high school students, using the 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Two survey questions separately assessed physical and sexual TDV; this analysis combined them to create a 4-level TDV measure and a 2-level TDV measure. The 4-level TDV measure includes “physical TDV only,” “sexual TDV only,” “both physical and sexual TDV,” and “none.” The 2-level TDV measure includes “any TDV” (either or both physical and sexual TDV) and “none.” Sex-stratified bivariate and multivariable analyses assessed associations between TDV and health-risk behaviors.
In 2013, among students who dated, 20.9% of female students (95% CI, 19.0%-23.0%) and 10.4% of male students (95% CI, 9.0%-11.7%) experienced some form of TDV during the 12 months before the survey. Female students had a higher prevalence than male students of physical TDV only, sexual TDV only, both physical and sexual TDV, and any TDV. All health-risk behaviors were most prevalent among students who experienced both forms of TDV and were least prevalent among students who experienced none (all P < .001).
Conclusions and Relevance
The 2013 TDV questions allowed for new prevalence estimates of TDV to be established that represent a more complete measure of TDV and are useful in determining associations with health-risk behaviors among youth exposed to these different forms of TDV.