Physical and Sexual Dating Violence and Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs

Pediatrics. 2017 Dec;140(6):e20172289. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-2289.


Background: Little information is available on the associations between nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) and dating violence victimization (DVV) among high school students and how associations vary by sex.

Methods: We used data from the 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a cross-sectional survey of a nationally representative sample of students in grades 9 to 12. The sample was restricted to students who dated during the 12 months before the survey, resulting in a sample of 5136 boys and 5307 girls. Sex-stratified logistic regression models estimated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between lifetime NMUPD and DVV. In our analyses, we examined a 4-level DVV measure: no DVV, physical only, sexual only, and both physical and sexual.

Results: Male students had a significantly lower prevalence of DVV compared with female students. By using the 4-level measure of DVV, after adjusting for covariates, sexual DVV only (aPR = 1.61, 95% CI: 1.21-2.12) and both physical and sexual DVV (aPR = 1.65, 95% CI: 1.26-2.17) were positively associated with NUMPD among boys, whereas among girls, physical DVV only (aPR = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.16-1.75) and both physical and sexual DVV (aPR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.03-1.99) were positively associated with NMUPD.

Conclusions: NMUPD was associated with experiences of DVV among both male and female students. Community- or school-based adolescent violence and substance use prevention efforts would be enhanced by considering the association between DVV and substance use, particularly NMUPD among both male and female adolescents, to address these public health problems.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intimate Partner Violence / ethnology
  • Intimate Partner Violence / trends*
  • Male
  • Physical Abuse / ethnology
  • Physical Abuse / trends*
  • Prescription Drugs / pharmacology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Offenses / ethnology
  • Sex Offenses / trends*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Prescription Drugs