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.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.
Compared with nonexposed youth, abuse victims reported more sexual assault; female victims reported more contraceptive nonuse and reproductive coercion.
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.
Possibly related to the health consequences of ARA, adolescents seeking care in confidential adolescent health settings have a higher prevalence of ARA than general population-based studies.