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Polydrug Use and Dating Violence Among Emerging Adults

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Dated: 2020
Date Published

This study examined sociodemographic and psychosocial risk factors that moderate the (poly) substance use and dating violence victimization and perpetration relationship among emerging adults.


With an ethnically diverse sample (N = 698), the study used latent class analyses to identify mutually exclusive groups based on monthly and past-year substance use. The study then examined these groups for dating violence victimization and perpetration, as well as the moderating effect of various risk factors. Five classes were identified based on substance use patterns: (a) regular alcohol use, (b) polysubstance use, (c) heavy alcohol and marijuana use, (d) mild alcohol use, and (e) occasional alcohol and marijuana use classes. Participants in the polysubstance-use class were the most likely to perpetrate dating violence, followed by heavy alcohol and marijuana use, occasional alcohol and marijuana use, regular alcohol use, and mild alcohol use classes. Similarly, participants in the polysubstance-use class were the most likely to be victims of dating violence, followed by occasional alcohol and marijuana, heavy alcohol and marijuana, regular alcohol, and mild alcohol use classes. Depending on substance-use class, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, history of dating violence, and trauma symptoms differentially influenced dating-violence perpetration and victimization at 1-year follow-up. These findings indicate the need for a comprehensive approach in addressing dating violence among emerging adults. Prevention and intervention programs for intimate partner violence may benefit from targeting emerging adults who misuse substances and the incorporation of substance-use interventions into dating-violence prevention efforts. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020