Methods: Data was obtained from the Dating Violence Among Latinos Study, a national phone survey of 1,525 Latino teens aged 12 to 18 years old over a 15.5-month period (n=574 Wave 2), which examined their victimization, psychosocial functioning, and cultural factors. The sample in the current study included 125 youth who reported experiencing TDV during Wave 1. A series of regression analyses were conducted using Wave 1 data to examine the pattern of relationships (e.g., correlation and moderation) between TDV (CTS-2 events) and environmental protective factors (e.g., school connectedness, social support, and familism) on depression, anxiety, and hostility, after controlling for age, socio-economic status, and non-TDV victimizations. Gender differences were examined.
Results: Although boys were 47.2% of the total sample, they represented 72.8% of the current study. For boys, school connectedness was associated with lower depression and hostility at time 1. Significant interactions suggested that among boys who experienced fewer TDV events, boys who had low school connectedness had higher anxiety levels anxiety. However, contrary to expectations, among boys who experienced more TDV events, boys who had higher school connectedness had higher anxiety. Boys who experienced more TDV events and had higher levels of support tended to have lower anxiety. For girls, familism was related to decreased anxiety at time 1. Significant interactions suggested that girls who had high familism had lower anxiety, particularly those who experienced less TDV. Similarly, girls who experienced fewer TDV events and high familism had lower hostility scores. However, girls with low familism and more TDV events had higher hostility scores.
Conclusions and Implications: The negative consequences of TDV among Latino youth are serious and pervasive. They may be associated with cumulative risks (e.g., poly-victimization, poverty, discrimination, political climate) and complex mechanisms that go beyond the scope of this study. In this study, the diversity of our participants (e.g., country of origin) may partially explain some of the confusing findings. Considering that 69% of the participants reported peer and sibling violence, social interactions at school and/or home may not feel positive or even safe. While this study provides an initial exploration of TDV and protective factors among Latino youth, more research is necessary to untangle protective mechanisms among these youth. Intervention and prevention efforts should consider gender differences, particularly among Latinos.