Peer Victimization and Sexual Risk Taking Among Adolescents.J Sch Health. 2018 12; 88(12):903-909.JS
Research indicates that victimization exposures are associated with sexual risk-taking behaviors, but there is a relative lack of research on the relation between peer victimization and sexual risk taking among adolescents. This study fills this gap through examining how bullying, cyberbullying, and dating violence victimization at baseline are related to sexual risk-taking behaviors 1 year later.
Participants were a convenience sample of 220 sexually active high school students who were drawn from a larger sample of 2205 adolescents attending 6 high schools in Illinois. Adolescents completed Wave 1 surveys in Spring 2015 and Wave 2 surveys in Spring 2016.
Latent difference score models indicated that bullying victimization was not related to sexual risk-taking behaviors. Baseline levels of cyberbullying and verbal teen dating violence, however, were both associated with more sex under the influence of alcohol at Wave 2. Further, findings revealed that changes over time in verbal teen dating violence victimization were associated with changes over time in sex under the influence of alcohol.
Given links between peer victimization exposures and sexual risk-taking behaviors, school-based prevention and intervention efforts should address these in concert with one another.