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Sexual violence has the most devastating impacts on the health of adult women, including an association with severe depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, fair/poor health, physical/somatic symptoms, cigarette smoking, and problem drinking [25, 27].However, the experience of non-physical victimization only (in the absence of physical/sexual abuse) is also associated with adverse mental health in adult women and men [23–26].The multivariable models were adjusted for age and other non-dating abuse victimization (bullying; punched, kicked, choked by a parent/guardian; touched in a sexual place, forced to touch someone sexually).In adjusted analyses, compared to non-exposed females, females with physical/sexual dating violence victimization were at increased risk of smoking (prevalence ratio = 3.95); depressive symptoms (down/hopeless, PR = 2.00; lost interest, PR = 1.79); eating disorders (using diet aids, PR = 1.98; fasting, PR = 4.71; vomiting to lose weight, PR = 4.33); and frequent sexual behavior (5 intercourse and oral sex partners, PR = 2.49, PR = 2.02; having anal sex, PR = 2.82).Among females, studies have shown an association between having a history of physical and/or sexual dating violence victimization and poor health during adolescence—including depression [3–5]; anxiety and stress symptoms ; suicide ideation and/or attempts [5, 7–11]; smoking, alcohol and drug use [3, 5, 8, 10]; disordered eating (e.g., using laxatives and/or vomiting to lose weight) [8, 10, 11]; contracting a sexually transmitted disease [12, 13]; having multiple sex partners ; pregnancy [8, 14]; and diminished quality of life .Male victims of physical and/or sexual dating violence during adolescence are at increased risk of disordered eating [4, 5]; anxiety, stress symptoms and depression [4–6]; suicidal ideation and/or attempts [4, 5]; smoking, alcohol and drug use [4, 5, 10]; and diminished emotional well-being .The analytic sample comprised 585 subjects ages 18 to 21 enrolled at The Ohio State University, recruited in two data collection efforts.
The present investigation expands upon prior studies by examining the relationship between health in late adolescence and the experience of physical/sexual and non-physical only (e.g., threats, controlling behavior) dating violence from age 13 to 19.
The findings from Exner-Cortens’ study support those from other studies showing an increased risk of violence re-victimization in late adolescence/young adulthood if experienced earlier in adolescence [1, 2, 17].
Despite the strengths of the Exner-Cortens’ study (longitudinal design, large sample affording a separate assessment of how violence types impacted health outcomes) , the violence assessment was limited.
Studies of adults have more extensively parsed health effects by specific types of violence experienced in intimate relationships, including a consideration of the different violence types (physical, sexual, and non-physical abuse) recommended for assessment by the U. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [18–20].
These studies have shown that adults who experience physical/sexual types of violence within intimate (e.g., dating, marital) relationships tend to have more pronounced adverse health impacts (e.g., depression, chronic disease) than adults who experience non-physical types of abuse only (e.g., controlling behavior, insults) [23–26].