To describe the receipt of controlling behaviors in young women's dating relationships and the association with physical and sexual relationship violence (RV) and to ascertain whether young women experiencing controlling from partners support RV screening and respond honestly.
Anonymous audio computer-assisted self-interview.
Reproductive health center.
A total of 603 women aged 15 to 24 years seeking reproductive care.
Main Outcome Measures
Self-reported victimization (controlling behaviors and physical and sexual aggression) by a partner in the past year.
Sixty-eight percent of participants reported receiving 1 or more episodes of controlling behavior by a partner: 38.1% reported experiencing only controlling behaviors; 11.4% and 10.0% reported receiving controlling behaviors plus physical or sexual victimization, respectively; and 8.6% reported all forms of RV. Adjusted Poisson regression found that age 15 to 18 years (relative risk, 1.40), Hispanic ethnicity (1.29), childhood exposure to domestic violence (1.11), ever pregnant (1.21), older partner (1.28), recent physical (1.89) or sexual (1.93) victimization, and uncomfortable asking for condom use (1.39) were significantly associated with increased episodes of controlling behavior by a partner. Younger women and those who reported being victimized by controlling behaviors were more than twice as likely to object to screening by a health care provider, and those who reported receiving these behaviors were 2.5 times more likely to report that they might not honestly disclose RV.
Controlling behaviors are strongly associated with physical and sexual RV. Young women experiencing controlling behaviors are more reticent about screening for RV and may not feel that they can answer honestly.