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Nurs Res. 2005 Jul-Aug;54(4):235-42.

Dating violence in college women: associated physical injury, healthcare usage, and mental health symptoms.

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  • 1School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA.



College-aged women report experiencing violence from a partner within the dating experience.


This study used a correlational design, to report physical injury, mental health symptoms, and healthcare associated with violence in the dating experiences of college women.


A convenience sample of 863 college women between 18 and 25 years of age from a private, historically Black university in the South, and a private college in the mid-Atlantic completed the Abuse Assessment Screen, a physical injury checklist, and the Symptom Checklist-R-90. Data analysis consisted of frequencies, ANOVA, and MANOVA.


Almost half (48%) (n = 412) reported violence and, of these, 39% (n = 160) reported more than one form of violence. The most commonly reported injuries were scratches, bruises, welts, black eyes, swelling, or busted lip; and sore muscles, sprains, or pulls. Victims had significantly higher scores on depression, anxiety, somatization, interpersonal sensitivity, hostility, and global severity index than nonvictims. Victims of multiple forms of violence had significantly higher mental health scores and reported greater numbers of injuries than victims of a single form of violence. Less than half of those injured sought healthcare for injuries and less than 3% saw a mental health professional.


Study findings suggest the importance of screening and identification of victims of violence. Knowledge of physical and mental health effects of violence can guide intervention, prevention, and health promotion strategies. Future research is needed to describe barriers to seeking healthcare, screening practices of college health programs, and programs to identify victims.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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