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Psychol Violence. 2017 Jan;7(1):101-109. doi: 10.1037/vio0000031. Epub 2016 Jan 25.

Intimate Partner Violence Victimization in LGBT Young Adults: Demographic Differences and Associations with Health Behaviors.

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Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.
Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.



Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important public health problem with high prevalence and serious costs. Although literature has largely focused on IPV among heterosexuals, studies have recently begun examining IPV in LGBT samples, with mounting evidence suggesting IPV may be more common among LGBT individuals than heterosexuals. Less research has examined the specific health consequences of IPV in this population, particularly across time and among young people, and it remains unclear whether experiences of IPV differ between subgroups within the LGBT population (e.g. race, gender identity, and sexual orientation).


An ethnically diverse sample of 172 LGBT young adults completed self-report measures of IPV, sexual behavior, mental health, and substance abuse at two time points (4- and 5-year follow-up) of an ongoing longitudinal study of LGBT youth.


IPV was experienced non-uniformly across demographic groups. Specifically, female, male-to-female transgender, and Black/African-American young adults were at higher risk compared to those who identified as male, female-to-male transgender, and other races. Being a victim of IPV was associated with concurrent sexual risk taking and prospective mental health outcomes but was not associated with substance abuse.


Demographic differences in IPV found in heterosexuals were replicated in this LGBT sample, though additional research is needed to clarify why traditional risk factors found in heterosexual young people may not translate to LGBT individuals. Studies examining the impact of IPV on negative outcomes and revictimization over time may guide our understanding of the immediate and delayed consequences of IPV for LGBT young people.


LGBT; domestic violence; intimate partner violence; victimization; youth and young adults

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