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Keywords:

  • dating violence;
  • depression;
  • relationship power;
  • adolescent;
  • aggression

ABSTRACT

Objective

To explore the associations among dating violence (DV), aggression, relationship power, and depressive symptoms.

Design

A cross-sectional survey secondary analysis.

Setting

An urban, school based health center, October, 2009 through May, 2009.

Participants

Low income, adolescent girls (n = 155), ages 14–18.

Methods

Descriptive and bivariate analyses were conducted to illustrate patterns and associations among variables. Key variables included depressive symptoms, DV victimization and aggression, and relationship power. We used mediation analyses to determine the direct and indirect effects among variables.

Results

Both DV victimization and aggression were reported frequently. Furthermore, DV victimization had a significant direct effect on depression and an indirect effect through relationship power. Depressive symptoms and relationship power were associated with DV aggression. Although relationship power did have a significant inverse effect on depressive symptoms, it was not through DV aggression.

Conclusions

Complex associations remain between mental health and DV; however, relationship power partially accounts for DV victimization's effect on depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms are associated with DV victimization and aggression; therefore, nurses should address relationship power in clinical and community interventions.