Wednesday, January 20, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Purpose. Adolescence and emerging adulthood are times of increased risk for dating violence and sexual assault, especially for people with prior victimization experience. Current research examining correlates of dating violence and sexual assault in emerging adulthood has focused mostly on individual and relational factors. Risk factors and correlates for dating violence and sexual assault in emerging adult include prior victimization, gender, race/ethnicity, age, and use of alcohol and drugs., though little attention has been paid to the impact of community and environment, such as college attendance. Despite increased research on emerging adults and interpersonal violence, evidence on the role of college attendance in risk for dating violence and sexual assault is mixed. We address the inconsistencies in the literature by examining the role of college attendance on dating violence and sexual assault victimization risk among a diverse longitudinal sample of 630 emerging adults. Methods. Using a longitudinal sample originally recruited in 2010 and followed for eight years, we conducted regression analyses to examine the association of college attendance by type (community and public/private four year) with subsequent victimization, controlling for prior victimization and other factors. At baseline, slightly more participants were female (56%), were on average 15.1 years old, and self-identified as Hispanic (32%), White (30%), African-American/Black (29%), and other (9%). Results. Of the 630 emerging adults at Wave 6 (Age range 18-22, majority (51%) were 20), 40.0% had attended a public or private college, 30.8% had attended community college or trade school, and 29.2% had never attended college. Participants who attended public and private four-year colleges had significantly less risk for physical dating violence (OR=0.35, p < 0.001). Prior physical (OR = 3.53, p < 0.001) and psychological (OR = 2.74, p=0.021) dating violence predicted physical dating violence victimization. Prior sexual dating violence victimization predicted subsequent sexual dating violence victimization (OR = 3.54, p< 0.001). Prior physical dating violence (OR = 1.70, p = 0.010) and psychological dating violence (OR = 3.63, p<0.001) predicted subsequent psychological dating violence. Prior sexual dating violence victimization (OR = 4.64, p< 0.001) and episodic heavy drinking (OR= 2.14, p=0.019) predicted later sexual assault. Conclusion and Implications. Four-year college attendance is protective for physical dating violence. However, the most significant predictor of dating violence and sexual assault in emerging adulthood was prior victimization. Previous victimization strongly predicted dating violence and sexual assault. Findings emphasize the importance of identifying and addressing adolescent dating violence as a means of preventing partner violence in emerging adults.