School and Community Characteristics Related to Dating Violence Victimization Among High School Youth

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Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine how school (e.g., school poverty rate) and community (e.g., county population density) characteristics relate to DV victimization and DV victim outcomes among high school youth. Method: The data used in this paper come from the 2013 New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Participants included in this study were 24,976 high school students from 71 public schools who completed the YRBS, ranged in age from 13 and to 18+ years old, and reported dating during the past year. Results: Physical DV victimization was related to higher school-level poverty rates and youth feeling low levels of community mattering. Sexual DV victimization was related to youth feeling low levels of community mattering and participating in community groups. Population density was unrelated to both physical and sexual DV victimization. Among DV victims, higher perceptions of community mattering was related to lower levels of depression and poor academics. DV victims not involved in community group participation had poorer academics than DV victims involved in community groups. Binge drinking was unrelated to school and community characteristics. Conclusions: Initiatives that focus on reducing poverty and improving youths’ perceptions of community mattering could be important components of more comprehensive efforts to reduce DV incidence.

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