Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Immigration-based disparities in adolescent girls' vulnerability to dating violence

TitleImmigration-based disparities in adolescent girls' vulnerability to dating violence
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSilverman, JG, Decker, MR, Raj, A
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Date PublishedJan
ISBN Number1092-7875; 1092-7875
Accession Number16845589
KeywordsAdolescent, Adolescent Behavior/ethnology, African Americans/statistics & numerical data, Asian Americans/statistics & numerical data, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Courtship/ethnology, Emigration and Immigration/statistics & numerical data, European Continental Ancestry Group/statistics & numerical data, Female, Hispanic Americans/statistics & numerical data, Humans, Logistic Models, Massachusetts/epidemiology, Questionnaires, Risk Factors, Risk-Taking, Sex Offenses/ethnology/statistics & numerical data, Sexual Behavior/ethnology/statistics & numerical data, Social Values/ethnology, Violence/ethnology/statistics & numerical data

OBJECTIVES: Little data exists on dating violence among immigrant adolescents. The present study assessed disparities in experiences of physical and sexual dating violence based on immigrant status and language spoken at home among a large representative sample of adolescent girls. METHODS: Data from the 1997-2003 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (N = 7,970) were analyzed. Adjusted logistic regression analyses were conducted among the full sample and sexually active sub-sample. To further clarify immigration-based effects, separate analyses were conducted within age and racial/ethnic groups. RESULTS: Being an immigrant was found to be protective against dating violence (OR 0.77, CI 0.60-0.98), but not among those reporting sexual intercourse. Stratified analyses revealed important differences in these effects based on age and race/ethnicity; only immigrant girls age 16 or older (OR 0.69, CI 0.48-0.99) and Hispanic immigrant girls (ORs 0.39-0.54) reported reduced risk for dating violence as compared to their non-immigrants peers. No differences in vulnerability to dating violence were detected based on immigrant status for Asian, Black, or White adolescents in stratified analyses. CONCLUSIONS: The social context of immigration may offer protection regarding adolescent girls' vulnerability to dating violence, but effects are not uniform across age, sexual experience, or race and ethnicity. Additional research is needed to understand how immigration, social behavior, age, race and ethnicity may interact to produce disparities in vulnerability to gender-based violence.