Sexual violence (SV), teen dating violence (TDV), and substance use are significant public health concerns among U.S. adolescents. This study examined whether latent classes of baseline alcohol and prescription drug misuse longitudinally predict SV and TDV victimization and perpetration (i.e., verbal,relational, physical/threatening, and sexual) 1 year later.
Students from six Midwestern high schools (n = 1,875; grades 9-11) completed surveys across two consecutive spring semesters. Latent class analysis was used to identify classes of individuals according to four substance use variables. A latent class regression and a manual three-step auxiliary approach were used to assess concurrent and distal relationships between identified classes and SV and TDV victimization and perpetration.
Three classes of substance use were identified: low/no use (41% of sample), alcohol only use (45%), and alcohol and prescription drug misuse (APD) (14%). Youth in the APD class experienced greater SV and TDV victimization and perpetration than the alcohol only class at baseline. At Time 2 (one year later), youth in the baseline APD class experienced significantly higher SV and TDV victimization and perpetration outcomes than youth in the alcohol only class with the exception of sexual and physical TDV perpetration.
The misuse of both alcohol and prescription drugs emerged as a significant risk factor for later SV and TDV among adolescents. As such, it would be beneficial if future research continued to assess the nature of these associations and incorporate prescription drug use and misuse into heath education,substance use, and violence prevention programs.