We examined the hypothesis that family, peer and neighborhood violence would moderate relations between heavy alcohol use and adolescent dating violence perpetration such that relations would be stronger for teens in violent contexts. Random coefficients growth models were used to examine the main and interaction effects of heavy alcohol use and four measures of violence (family violence, friend dating violence, friend peer violence and neighborhood violence) on levels of physical dating violence perpetration across grades 8 through 12. The effects of heavy alcohol use on dating violence tended to diminish over time and were stronger in the spring than in the fall semesters. Consistent with hypotheses, across all grades, relations between heavy alcohol use and dating violence were stronger for teens exposed to higher levels of family violence and friend dating violence. However, neither friend peer violence nor neighborhood violence moderated relations between alcohol use and dating violence. Taken together, findings suggest that as adolescents grow older, individual and contextual moderators may play an increasingly important role in explaining individual differences in relations between alcohol use and dating violence. Implications for the design and evaluation of dating abuse prevention programs are discussed.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 15, 2011
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