Changes in acceptance of dating violence and physical dating violence victimization in a longitudinal study with teens.Child Abuse Negl. 2018 12; 86:123-135.CA
Teen dating violence is a pervasive issue in adolescence and has been linked to maladjustment (Temple, Shorey, Fite et al., 2013). Physical dating violence is a particularly significant problem with one in five adolescents reporting experiencing physical teen dating violence (TDV; Wincentak et al., 2017). Acceptance of violence has been suggested to increase the risk of TDV; however, most studies to date have been cross-sectional. The purpose of the current study is to examine patterns of acceptance of dating violence and TDV victimization across time. Participants were ethnically diverse teenagers (N = 1042; ages 13-18) who were followed over a four-year period. Multivariate latent growth curve modeling techniques were used to determine trajectories of physical TDV victimization and attitudes accepting of dating violence. Results showed two trajectories for physical TDV victimization, linear and quadratic, and two trajectories for acceptance of dating violence, non-linear and quadratic. Parallel models investigating the interplay between TDV victimization and acceptance demonstrated two possible trends; however, we did not find any evidence for a longitudinal relationship between the two variables, suggesting that change in acceptance was not related to change in physical TDV victimization. Instead, our results suggest a significant amount of heterogeneity in these trajectories. These findings suggest studies are still needed to further explore longitudinal patterns of TDV to better understand how to reduce the risk of teen dating violence.