Before the clinical encounter, youth used a laptop with headphones to complete a 15-minute audio computer-assisted survey about ARA and other forms of violence victimization, sexual behavior, and care seeking for sexual and reproductive health.
Students received a gift card to thank them for their time.
Analysis with female participants found an association between cyber dating abuse exposure and contraceptive nonuse (low: a OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2–2.7; high: a OR 4.1, 95% CI 2.0–8.4) and reproductive coercion (low: a OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.4–6.2; high: a OR 5.7, 95% CI 2.8–11.6).
CONCLUSIONS: Cyber dating abuse is common and associated with ARA and sexual assault in an adolescent clinic-based sample.
This may be particularly relevant for clinicians uncertain about the extent to which cyber dating abuse potentially contributes to the behaviors they are addressing in the clinical setting.
Youth who chose not to participate reported not having enough time or being unavailable for the follow-up survey as the primary reason for nonparticipation.During the 2012–2013 school year, 1062 youth aged 14 to 19 years seeking services at any of 8 participating SHCs were invited to participate.Over a 7-month enrollment period, all students were screened at clinic entry for age eligibility by trained research staff.The associations of cyber dating abuse with sexual behavior and pregnancy risk behaviors suggest a need to integrate ARA education and harm reduction counseling into sexual health assessments in clinical settings.This is the first clinic-based study of cyber dating abuse.OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of cyber dating abuse among youth aged 14 to 19 years seeking care at school-based health centers and associations with other forms of adolescent relationship abuse (ARA), sexual violence, and reproductive and sexual health indicators.RESULTS: Past 3-month cyber dating abuse was reported by 41.4% of this clinic-based sample.Eligible students interested in participating were escorted to a private area in the clinic for consent or assent and survey administration.Because participants were receiving confidential clinical services, parental permission for participation was waived for minors.Study procedures were approved by institutional review boards at Public Health Institute and the University of Pittsburgh and were reviewed by administrators at respective schools and SHCs. Single items assessed demographic characteristics, including gender, age, race, US nativity, relationship status, and sexual orientation.Dating partners were defined as persons the respondent reported “dating, going out with, or hooking up with.” All exposures and outcomes were assessed by using a referent time period of the past 3 months.