This project has five objectives: 1) to evaluate use of a measure of teen dating violence (TDV) perpetration and victimization with early adolescents, 2) to determine the prevalence of TDV victimization among urban early adolescents and compare rates by grade, gender and season, 3) to identify trajectories of TDV victimization during early adolescence across 14 waves of quarterly data, 4) to identify risk factors for TDV victimization (i.e., exposure to community violence, poly-victimization, aggression perpetration) by determining their relation to these trajectories, and 5) to determine the consequences of TDV victimization by investigating the relation between trajectory profiles and subsequent adjustment problems (i.e., substance use, antisocial behavior, post-traumatic stress symptoms).
This project involves secondary analysis of an existing, longitudinal data set of urban early adolescents collected by the CDC-funded Academic Center of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU-ACE). The VCU-ACE project collects multiple waves of data on different forms of youth violence perpetration and victimization, including TDV, and on associated risk factors and adjustment as part of an evaluation of a community-level comprehensive prevention approach. This project will use data from seven cohorts of middle school students ages 10-16 (projected N = 1,470; 91% African Americans, 47% males) who participate in four assessments per year for up to 3-1/2 years. This project is unique in that it focuses on early adolescence, a critical period for the emergence of TDV victimization that has received little attention in the literature.
This project involves five related studies. Study 1 will examine the psychometric properties of the Dating Violence Scale (DVS), a common measure of TDV for middle and late adolescents. Analyses will be conducted to determine the DVSs relevance for a sample of predominantly urban early adolescents. This study will also evaluate the measures discriminant validity by determining its relation to a more general measure of aggression. Study 2 will investigate prevalence rates for TDV victimization during early adolescence and determine their relation to individual characteristics (e.g., gender, grade) and time of year. Study 3 will use growth mixture modeling to identify trajectory profiles that reflect distinct patterns of change in TDV victimization during middle school. Study 4 will use class membership in these trajectory profiles as a context for examining risk factors for TDV including exposure to community violence, poly-victimization, and aggressive perpetration. Finally, Study 5 will examine the consequences of TDV victimization trajectory profiles by determining whether they predict adjustment at the end of the eighth grade, including substance use, antisocial behavior, and posttraumatic stress symptoms.ca/ncf