To assess the co-occurrence of past-month physical assault of a dating partner and violence against peers and siblings among a locally representative sample of high school students and to explore correlates of dating violence (DV) perpetration.
Cross-sectional survey design.
Twenty-two public high schools in Boston, Massachusetts.
A sample of urban high school students (n = 1398) who participated in the Boston Youth Survey, implemented January through April of 2008.
Main Outcomes Measures
Self-reported physical DV in the month before the survey, defined as pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, punching, kicking, or choking a dating partner 1 or more times.
Among the respondents, 18.7%, 41.2%, and 31.2% of students reported past-month perpetration of physical DV, peer violence, and sibling violence, respectively. Among violence perpetrators, the perpetration of DV only was rare (7.9%). Controlling for age and school, the association between sibling violence and DV was strong for boys (adjusted prevalence ratio, 3.81; 95% confidence interval, 2.07-6.99) and for girls (1.83; 1.44-2.31), and the association between peer violence and DV perpetration was strong for boys (5.13; 3.15-8.35) and for girls (2.57; 1.87-3.52). Dating violence perpetration was also associated with substance use, knife carrying, delinquency, and exposure to community violence.
Adolescents who perpetrated physical DV were also likely to have perpetrated peer and/or sibling violence. Dating violence is likely one of many co-occurring adolescent problem behaviors, including sibling and peer violence perpetration, substance use, weapon carrying, and academic problems.