In 2013, 1 in every 10 students who dated or went out with someone in the previous 12 months reported some form of dating violence (DV). Only a few studies have evaluated the relationship between DV and disordered eating (DE). This study aims to evaluate gender differences in the association between DV victimization and DE behaviors using a nationally representative sample of high school students in the United States.
Data came from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Students who reported dating or going out with anyone in the previous 12 months and responded to DV and DE questions were included (N = 9,677). DV was categorized as physical DV, sexual DV, physical and sexual DV, and none. The outcome, or DE, was determined by questions about unhealthy weight control behaviors. Multiple logistic regression models provided odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals. Race/ethnicity was an effect modifier; thus, stratified analyses assessed for gender and racial/ethnic differences.
The prevalence of past-year physical DV, sexual DV, both physical and sexual DV, and any DV was 5.4%, 5.4%, 4.7%, and 15.5%, respectively. OR estimates were more robust in males than in females. Victims of physical and sexual DV were significantly more likely to report DE, namely among Hispanic and non-Hispanic White males and all female race/ethnic groups, with the exception of non-Hispanic Black females.
Findings strengthen support for routine DV screening. Adolescent violence prevention programs should consider risky behaviors, such as DE. Interventions should account for gender and racial/ethnic differences.