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NCJ Number: 204723 Find in a Library
Title: Risky Lifestyles and Dating Violence: A Theoretical Test of Violent Victimization
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:March/April 2004  Pages:171-180
Author(s): Angela R. Gover
Date Published: March 2004
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study tested a victimization theory that suggests risk-taking behaviors (drug abuse, alcohol abuse, driving under the influence, and sexual promiscuity) mediate the effects of social ties and emotional states in determining the likelihood of violent victimization in adolescent dating relationships.
Abstract: Few previous studies on dating violence have proposed models for understanding the social and psychological processes that explain the context of such victimization. The current study attempted to move beyond a pure risk-factor and offender motivation approach by proposing a theoretical model that explains physical dating violence among a sample of high school students. The proposed theoretical model suggests that the relationship between emotional states, social ties, and victimization in dating relationships occur indirectly through the influences of risk-taking activities, i.e., individuals who view their life with a greater sense of satisfaction and have stronger social ties are less likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors; thus, they are less likely to be placed in social settings in which there is potential for violence from partners. Based on this model, the current study tested the hypothesis that the effects of risk-taking behaviors mediate or account for the effects of social ties and emotional states on dating violence; therefore, social ties and emotional states should affect the likelihood of dating violence victimization through their indirect association with risk-taking. The data used came from the 1997 South Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which used a three-stage, stratified cluster sampling design that represented the age, race, and gender composition of all South Carolina public high schools. Violent dating victimization was measured by a single question modified from the Conflict Tactics Scale. Risk-taking behaviors were measured by independent variables related to self-reported data on drug abuse, alcohol abuse, driving under the influence, and sexual behavior. Other independent variables pertained to family structure, church attendance, and life satisfaction. A logistic regression model was used to estimate self-reported data on dating violence. The study found that South Carolina high school students who reported engaging in risky lifestyles were at increased risk of being victims of dating violence. Independent of these factors, however, gender apparently remained an important indicator of victimization risk, as adolescent girls were at greater risk of being victims of intimate partner violence. These findings provide support for a routine-activities or lifestyles theory in explaining dating violence. The author advises, however, that these results should be interpreted with caution, because several of the key variables were single-item measures with unknown reliability. 3 tables, 5 notes, and 62 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Alcohol abuse; Dating Violence; Drug abuse; Parent-Child Relations; Religion; Routine activity theory; Sexual behavior; Victimization; Victimization risk
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