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Surveys took between 15 and 20 minutes for most participants.After they completed the survey, participants received written information about local TDV services for adolescents.Objectives To determine the prevalence and characteristics of dating violence experienced by adolescents seeking care in a pediatric emergency department and how often adolescents reporting victimization follow up with suggested resources. Interventions Adolescents aged 13 to 21 years completed a survey including demographic characteristics and a validated measure of dating violence.Those reporting victimization received information about local resources and were contacted 1 month later by telephone to determine their use of local resources.Eligible patients were those who had prior experience in a dating relationship (ie, “romantic or sexual relationship, or involvement with someone that includes having sex or ‘hooking up’ on more than 1 occasion”).Medical record numbers were checked to verify no previous participation.
Results Among the adolescents, 54.8% reported physical and/or sexual victimization (54.0% of girls vs 56.7% of boys; odds ratio = 0.9; 95% CI, 0.6-1.5), and 59.4% reported perpetration of physical and/or sexual violence (62.1% of girls vs 52.3% of boys; odds ratio = 1.4; 95% CI, 0.9-2.4).Correspondingly, adolescents who engage in higher levels of risky behaviors are known to disproportionately use the PED as their usual source of care, again making this site a potentially important setting in which to identify and intervene with individuals involved in TDV. The work that has been done, while important in documenting the high rate of TDV and its association with risky behaviors among PED patients, was solely focused on girls and TDV victimization.This study builds on this work by assessing TDV victimization and perpetration among male and female patients in the PED, associations between TDV and behavioral health risks, and subsequent use of TDV services (eg, contacting advocacy groups, hotlines, or shelters) after PED visits.In accordance with recommendations from the Society for Adolescent Medicine, we only pursued parental consent in situations where parents were available, to facilitate inclusion of adolescents with low parental involvement, a group likely experiencing greater risk for TDV victimization and perpetration.
After informed consent was obtained, the RAs provided subjects with a self-administered, brief written survey; subjects completed the survey privately but with the RA available to them if they had any questions.
The project was described as a study of health and violence among adolescents, and not of TDV, to reduce the likelihood that the RAs would communicate the nature of the study in a way that could potentially endanger a participant.