Indexed on: 31 Mar '10Published on: 31 Mar '10Published in: Journal of women's health (2002)
There are no published studies on physical dating violence in college students in Chile, and campuses across the country currently lack systematized programs to prevent or respond to this public health problem. This is the first study to examine prevalence and predictors of physical dating violence victimization with a sample of female college students in Chile.A closed-ended questionnaire was administered to students enrolled in general education courses at a major public university. The prevalence of women's physical dating violence victimization was calculated, and generalized ordered logit models were used to estimate risk factors for such victimization (n = 441). Ancillary analyses examined associations of dating violence victimization with experiences of unwanted sexual contact and forced condom nonuse.Approximately 21% of subjects reported one or more incidents of physical dating violence not involving physical injury since age 14, and another 5% reported at least one incident resulting in physical injury during this time period. Risk factors identified in five sequential models were sexual abuse and witnessing of domestic violence in childhood, low parental education, residence away from the parental home, urban residence, and having had sexual intercourse. Maternal employment and religious participation had protective effects. Dating violence victimization was found to be significantly associated with experiences of unwanted sexual contact and forced condom nonuse.The study findings show a high prevalence of physical dating violence, strong associations between several sociodemographic factors and dating violence, and links between dating violence and sexual/reproductive risk. Our results indicate a need to expand attention to this public health problem in Chile as well as other developing countries, where research and prevention/response initiatives have generally been similarly limited. The findings also have important implications for the content of dating violence, HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI), and pregnancy prevention programs for adolescents and young adults.