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RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE AMONG ADOLESCENT MOTHERS: FREQUENCY, DYADIC NATURE, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR RELATIONSHIP DISSOLUTION AND MENTAL HEALTH

Authors


  • Stephanie Milan, Jessica Lewis, Trace Kershaw, & Jeannette R. Ickovics, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale School of Medicine; Kathleen Ethier, Division of STD Prevention, Behavioral Interventions and Research Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • This research was funded by NIMH grant #P01 MH/DA 56826-01A1 and training grant 31T32 MH20031-02.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Stephanie Milan, Yale School of Medicine, 135 College Street, Suite 323, New Haven, CT 06520. E-mail: stephanie.milan@yale.edu

Abstract

This article examines whether the frequency, dyadic nature, and potential implications of relationship violence differ in parenting (n= 163) and nulliparous (i.e., never given birth; n= 165) adolescent females from low-income, urban communities. We found the frequency and dyadic nature of violence did not differ between parental status groups. Over half of the adolescents in both groups reported relationship violence in the past year, with female-enacted violence more common than male-enacted violence. However, significant group differences emerged in the relationship between violence and subsequent relationship dissolution and mental health. Higher levels of female-enacted violence predicted relationship dissolution among nulliparous adolescents but predicted increases in depression in parenting adolescents. Findings highlight the need for violence prevention programs tailored specifically to the developmental and contextual needs of adolescent mothers.

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