Abstract: Dating Violence, Future Life Aspirations, and Leisure Activities of Urban Black Youth (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

295P Dating Violence, Future Life Aspirations, and Leisure Activities of Urban Black Youth

Friday, January 18, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Dione King, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Catheryn Orihuela, PhD, Research Associate, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Sylvie Mrug, PhD, Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL
Background and Purpose: Adolescence is a developmental period that can impede or stimulate health and behavioral health outcomes.  As engagement in health risk behaviors occur during this time, it is essential that attention be given to this transitional period.  Although attention has been given to the role of sexual behaviors and leisure activities, there is an absence regarding the examination of leisure activities, future life aspirations, and dating violence.  Youth perceptions of future experiences can impact their decision-making and romantic relationship expectations.  Understanding these connections can provide increased opportunities to develop prevention and intervention programming for Black urban youth.  This novel research study seeks to enhance the existing body of research through its examination of these issues as they impede the developmental experiences of urban Black youth. We hypothesize youth engagement in leisure activities will reduce the risk of dating violence victimization and perpetration, and expect youth with positive future life aspirations to be less likely to engage in dating violence.


Methods:  This study uses longitudinal data from the Birmingham Youth Violence Study (BYVS) Wave 3 (N=404).  The BYVS was designed to reflect a representative sample of public school students in the Birmingham metropolitan area through a two-stage probability sampling design, with attention given to racial/ethnic, sex, and SES composition. Study participants were Black youth between the ages of 16-23 (M=17.6, SD= 1.03) with approximately 53% female and 47% male in this study.   


Results:  Linear regression analyses tested relationships between future life aspirations, leisure activities (subscales: media, social, sports, and academic), and dating violence.  Child gender and age were also entered into the model as covariates.  Data analyses indicate youth who reported having more positive future life aspirations were less likely to report dating violence perpetration (B= -0.14, SE= 0.05; p< .01) and victimization (B= -0.16, SE= 0.05; p < .01).  Additionally, youth who reported more social activities during their leisure time were more likely to report dating violence perpetration (B= 0.28, SE= 0.05; p< .001) and victimization (B= 0.26, SE= 0.06; p < .01).   As participation in social leisure activities such as going to parties, hanging out with friends, talking or texting on a cell phone increased reported engagement in violence perpetration and risk for violence victimization.   There were no associations between leisure activities related to sports, media use, and dating violence.

Conclusion and Implications:  Study findings underscore the importance of activity engagement in adolescent health risk behaviors as increased social activity engagement may put urban Black youth at risk for dating violence while increased life aspirations can reduce these risks.  Understanding the impact of life aspirations and leisure time is necessary to reduce dating violence and improve behavioral health outcomes.  This study reinforces the role that social work practitioners, researchers, and educators can have in improving future life aspirations and providing quality social leisure activities to mitigate behavioral health risk.  Future researcher should examine the social messaging in adolescent environments to further elucidate intervention and prevention areas.