BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This study tested whether dating violence (DV) victimization is associated with increases in BMI across the transition from adolescence to young adulthood and whether gender and previous exposure to child maltreatment modify such increases.
METHODS: Data were from participants (N = 9295; 49.9% female) in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. BMI was calculated from measured height and weight at waves 2, 3, and 4 of the study. DV victimization was measured at waves 2, 3, and 4 by using items from the revised Conflict Tactics Scales. Linear regression by using generalized estimating equations with robust SEs was used to test the association. Models were stratified according to gender and history of child maltreatment.
RESULTS: From baseline to wave 4, BMI increased on average 6.5 units (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.2–6.7) and 6.8 units (95% CI: 6.5–7.1) among men and women, respectively, and nearly one-half (45.5% of men; 43.9% of women) reported DV at some point. In stratified models, DV victimization (β: 0.3 [95% CI: 0.0–0.6]) independently predicted BMI increase over time in women. Exposure to childhood sexual abuse magnified the increase in BMI associated with DV victimization (β: 1.3 [95% CI: 0.3–2.3]). No other types of childhood maltreatment were significant modifiers of the DV–BMI association. Violence victimization was not associated with BMI among men.
CONCLUSIONS: Screening and support for DV victims, especially women who have also experienced childhood maltreatment, may be warranted to reduce the likelihood of health consequences associated with victimization.
- Accepted July 14, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics