Dating Violence Among Urban, Minority, Middle School Youth and Associated Sexual Risk Behaviors and Substance Use


Address correspondence to: Donna K. Lormand, Project Coordinator, (, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of Texas Houston Health Science Center—School of Public Health, 7000 Fannin, 2656 F, Houston, TX 77030.



Whereas dating violence among high school students has been linked with sexual risk-taking and substance use, this association has been understudied among early adolescents. We estimated the prevalence of physical and nonphysical dating violence in a sample of middle school students and examined associations between dating violence, sexual, and substance use behaviors.


Logistic regression models for clustered data from 7th grade students attending 10 Texas urban middle schools were used to examine cross-sectional associations between dating violence victimization and risk behaviors.


The sample (N = 950) was 48.5% African American, 36.0% Hispanic, 55.7% female, mean age 13.1 years (SD 0.64). About 1 in 5 reported physical dating violence victimization, 48.1% reported nonphysical victimization, and 52.6% reported any victimization. Adjusted logistic regression analyses indicated that physical, nonphysical, and any victimization was associated with ever having sex, ever using alcohol, and ever using drugs.


Over 50% of sampled middle school students had experienced dating violence, which may be associated with early sexual initiation and substance use. Middle school interventions that prevent dating violence are needed.