Much etiologic research has focused on individual-level risk factors for teen dating violence (TDV); therefore, less is known about school-level and neighborhood-level risk factors. We examined the association between alcohol outlet density around high schools and TDV victimization and the association between markers of physical disorder around schools and TDV victimization among adolescents.
Data come from high school students participating in the Maryland Safe and Supportive Schools Initiative. Alcohol outlet density was calculated using walking distance buffers around schools. An observational tool was used to assess indicators of physical disorder on school property (eg, alcohol and drug paraphernalia). Hierarchical linear modeling was used to identify student- and school-level predictors associated with TDV victimization.
Overall, 11% of students reported experiencing physical TDV and 11% reported experiencing psychological TDV over the past year. Recent alcohol use was a risk factor for TDV victimization for both sexes, whereas feeling safe at school was protective against TDV victimization for both sexes. Greater alcohol outlet density was associated with decreased TDV victimization for males, however, it was nonsignificant for females. Physical disorder around schools was not associated with TDV victimization for either sex.
Although the school-level predictors were not associated with TDV victimization, alcohol use and perceptions of safety at school were significantly associated with TDV victimization. Prevention efforts to address alcohol use may affect TDV victimization.