To determine the associations between abuse by an intimate partner and risk behaviors among adolescents and to determine whether these associations vary by gender.
Design and Participants
Ordinal and linear regression analyses of 1996 cross-sectional data from 4347 adolescents surveyed for wave 2 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health public use data set.
Main Outcome Measures
A 5-point scale was used to measure whether the adolescent had been the victim of any of the following behaviors by an intimate partner: insulted in public, sworn at, threatened with violence, or had something thrown at them. Risk behavior involvement was determined using 5 measures: substance use, antisocial behavior, violent behavior, suicidal behavior, and depressed mood.
There was no significant difference in the frequency of abuse by an intimate partner for males (21.0%) vs females (22.1%). In females, after adjusting for sociodemographic factors and number of intimate partners, a history of abuse was significantly associated with substance use (values given as β, 99% confidence interval) (0.87, 0.51-1.23), antisocial behavior (0.15, 0.10-0.20), violent behavior (0.06, 0.01-0.11), depressed mood (1.82, 1.21-2.43), and suicidal behavior (odds ratio, 1.37, 1.14-1.63). In males, abuse was independently associated with antisocial behavior (0.11, 0.03-0.19), violent behavior (0.09, 0.04-0.14), and depressed mood (1.29, 0.53-2.06). Abuse by an intimate partner had a significantly stronger association with substance use in females (0.87, 0.51-1.23) vs males (0.34, −0.09 to 0.77).
Abuse by an intimate partner is common among adolescents and has strong associations with risk behaviors among male and female victims of abuse.