Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Adolescent Alcohol Use and Dating Violence Perpetration: Three Studies Examining Concurrent and Longitudinal Relations Across Grades 8 Through 12
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Numerous studies suggest a link between alcohol use and adult partner violence, but research on how this relationship unfolds during adolescence is limited. The three studies comprising this dissertation each used a different theoretical lens to guide an empirical examination of the relations between alcohol use and physical dating violence perpetration using data from a longitudinal study spanning grades 8 through 12. Study one (n=2272) used autoregressive latent curve models to examine several different theoretical models of the linkages between alcohol use and dating violence perpetration over time. Trajectories of alcohol use and dating violence were correlated and this correlation was reduced substantially after adjusting for the effects of common predictors. However, concurrent associations between the two behaviors persisted across nearly all grades. There was no evidence of prospective relations from alcohol use to dating violence or vice-versa. Study two (n=2311) examined the role of heavy alcohol use in the developmental process of desistance from dating violence perpetration. Growth models were used to test the hypotheses that both early and continuing alcohol use would hinder desistance from dating violence during late adolescence. Contrary to expectations, the effects of early alcohol use on dating violence diminished over time. Although the contemporaneous effects of alcohol use on dating violence were significant across most grades, effects weakened during late adolescence and were stronger in the spring than in the fall semesters. Study three (n=2311) examined the hypothesis that increased exposure to violence would strengthen the relationship between heavy alcohol use and dating violence. Growth models were used to examine the main and joint effects of alcohol use and exposure to family, peer, and neighborhood violence on levels of dating violence across grades 8 through 12. Across all grades, the relationship between alcohol use and dating violence was stronger for teens exposed to higher levels of family conflict and friend dating violence. Prevention programs that target risk factors common to both dating violence and alcohol use may reduce involvement in both behaviors. Programs that seek to reduce alcohol-related dating violence should target younger teens and those exposed to family conflict or friend dating violence.