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Prev Med. 2004 Aug;39(2):373-83.

Acculturation, ethnic identity, and dating violence among Latino ninth-grade students.

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  • 1University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health at Brownsville, Brownsville, TX 78520, USA.



Studies of dating violence among Latino men and women have found that victims who are less acculturated have lower rates of dating violence. None of these studies have focused on adolescents. We assessed acculturation, ethnic identity, and dating violence victimization among Latino ninth-grade students.


Students from 13 high schools representing 24% of ninth-grade students in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley during 2000-2001 completed questionnaires. This analysis is restricted to students age 14 years or older who self-identified as Hispanic or Latino (n = 4,525). Logistic regression was performed to estimate the risk of dating violence associated with measures of acculturation and ethnic identity.


Latino female adolescents were more likely to report dating violence victimization in the past 12 months (8.7%) than were males (6.4%). Parental birthplace outside of the United States was significantly associated with a reduced likelihood of dating violence victimization among females. Reporting a great deal of ethnic discrimination was strongly associated with increased dating violence victimization among females.


These findings suggest that greater acculturation may be associated with greater prevalence of dating violence victimization among females. Understanding those aspects of Latino culture that may impact risk of dating violence could have important public health implications.

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