Risky Lifestyle as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Deviant Peer Affiliation and Dating Violence Victimization Among Adolescent Girls
Few studies have explored the possible contribution of the peer group to dating violence victimization. These authors tested the hypothesis that a risky lifestyle would mediate the relationship between deviant peer affiliation and dating violence victimization among adolescent girls. A sample of 550 girls (mean age = 15), drawn from a larger representative community sample in Quebec, Canada, completed a questionnaire on three forms of dating violence victimization (psychological, physical, and sexual). Girls with a higher level of affiliation with deviant peers were more likely to endorse a risky lifestyle and reported higher rates of all forms of dating violence victimization. Further analysis showed that, while deviant peer affiliation is associated with dating violence victimization, this relationship may be explained, at least partially for psychological violence and completely for physical/sexual violence, by the girls' own risky lifestyle. The authors suggest that future preventive interventions for adolescent dating violence victimization should target deviant peer groups, as well as adolescent girls who display a risky lifestyle. Modified Author Abstract.