Adolescence is a developmental period when dating behavior is first initiated and when the risk of abuse by or against a dating partner begins to emerge. It is also one in which experimentation with alcohol and illicit substances typically begins. The current study examined the association between recent alcohol use and recent marijuana use and the experience of physical and verbal teen dating violence (TDV) victimization while considering the potential influence of school contextual variables.
Data came from 27,758 high school students attending 58 Maryland public high schools. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to identify student- and school-level predictors associated with TDV.
Results indicated that approximately 11% of students reported experiencing physical TDV and 11% of students reported experiencing verbal TDV over the past year. In addition, 33% of students reported recent alcohol use and 21% reported recent marijuana use. Hierarchical linear modeling results revealed that students who reported frequent recent alcohol or recent marijuana use were at increased odds of experiencing physical (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]alcohol = 2.80, p < .001; AORmarijuana = 2.03, p < .001) or verbal TDV (AORalcohol = 2.63, p < .001; AORmarijuana = 2.20, p < .001) victimization compared to students who reported little or no alcohol or marijuana use. School support was a protective factor for both physical TDV (AOR = 0.74, p < .001) and verbal TDV (AOR = 0.76, p < .001) victimization.
Findings suggested that prevention efforts to address alcohol and marijuana use may have an effect on TDV victimization. Results also highlight the potential utility of enhancing student perceptions of school support as an approach for reducing TDV victimization.