Prevalence of teen dating violence and the associations with substance use and externalizing behaviors in Nicaraguan early adolescents

Yu Lu (University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)
Youngju Shin (Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)
Vi D. Le (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas, USA)
Jeff R. Temple (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas, USA)
Jonathan Pettigrew (Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Publication date: 17 June 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Despite being a significant public health problem, teen dating violence and related risk behaviors are yet to be examined in Nicaragua. This study aims to examine the prevalence of in-person dating violence and cyber dating abuse and to test the associations between teen dating violence and substance use (i.e. alcohol, cigarette, marijuana and e-cigarette) as well as externalizing behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey responses were collected from a school-based sample of 1,799 Nicaraguan early adolescents (average age = 13.04 years).

Findings

The prevalence was 41% for in-person dating violence victimization, 39% for in-person dating violence perpetration, 30% for cyber dating abuse victimization and 26% for cyber dating abuse perpetration. The majority (56%) of the adolescents reported engagement in externalizing behaviors, but substance use prevalence was relatively low, ranging from 1–9% depending on the substance type. Multivariate regression analyses suggest that in-person dating violence perpetration was positively associated with all types of substance use and externalizing behaviors, while victimization was only associated with externalizing behaviors.

Originality/value

Despite the descriptive nature, the study is the first to examine the prevalence of teen dating violence and its relationships with other risk behaviors in Nicaraguan adolescents and have important health implications.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported in part by grants from the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau to the University of Tennessee (S-INLEC-13-GR-1012: Jonathan Pettigrew, Principal Investigator) and Arizona State University (S-INLEC-16-GR-1005: Jonathan Pettigrew, Principal Investigator). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the United States Department of State. The authors report there are no financial conflicts of interest.

Citation

Lu, Y., Shin, Y., Le, V.D., Temple, J.R. and Pettigrew, J. (2020), "Prevalence of teen dating violence and the associations with substance use and externalizing behaviors in Nicaraguan early adolescents", Health Education, Vol. 120 No. 2, pp. 165-177. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-01-2020-0006

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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