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Teen dating violence and the COVID-19 pandemic: trends from a longitudinal study in Texas
  1. Leila Wood1,
  2. Elizabeth Baumler1,
  3. Morgan E PettyJohn2,
  4. Jeff R Temple1
  1. 1The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
  2. 2Social Work, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leila Wood, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77054, USA; leila.g.wood{at}uth.tmc.edu

Abstract

Purpose Teen dating violence (TDV) is a global public health and safety issue causing health impacts to youth people. This study aimed to examine: (1) the impact of the pandemic on TDV victimisation rates and (2) socioecological factors associated with sustained risk for TDV victimisation during the first year of COVID-19.

Methods Data are from an ongoing randomised controlled trial of a TDV prevention programme in Texas (n=2768). We conducted annual assessments in 2019–2021. We used regression modelling to assess demographic, individual, peer and family factors associated with TDV risks.

Results TDV rates declined from 11.9% in 2019 to 5.2% in 2021. While demographic, peer and family/household factors were not associated with TDV victimisation during the pandemic, individual-level factors (ie, early sexual debut, substance use, acceptance of violence and prior TDV involvement) were related to COVID-era risks. Only early sexual debut was uniquely linked to TDV victimisation risk the first year of COVID-19.

Conclusions While TDV rates declined during the pandemic, previous victimisation, substance use and early sexual debut remained potent risks for relationship harm.

  • COVID-19
  • Sexual abuse
  • Violence
  • Longitudinal
  • Adolescent

Data availability statement

No data are available. Study has not concluded, but data will be available after conclusion per plan with NIH.

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Data availability statement

No data are available. Study has not concluded, but data will be available after conclusion per plan with NIH.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors All authors contributed to the conceptualisation of the paper. LW, EB and JRT designed and collected the data. All authors contributed to the analytical plan and writing. LW is the guarantor for this work.

  • Funding This study was funded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant number: R01HD083445).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.