Associations of relationship experiences dating violence, sexual harassment, and assault with alcohol use among sexual and gender minority adolescents

Wouter Kiekens*, Laura Baams, Jessica Fish, Ryan Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents report higher rates of dating violence victimization compared with their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Research on dating violence often neglects diversity in sexual and gender identities and is limited to experiences in relationships. Further, given that dating violence and alcohol use are comorbid, research on experiences of dating violence could provide insights into alcohol use disparities among SGM adolescents. We aimed to map patterns of relationship experiences, sexual and physical dating violence, and sexual and physical assault and explored differences in these experiences among SGM adolescents. Further, we examined how these patterns explained alcohol use. We used a U.S. non-probability national web-based survey administered to 13–17-year-old SGM adolescents (N = 12,534). Using latent class analyses, four patterns were identified: low relationship experience, dating violence and harassment and assault (72.0%), intermediate dating experiences, sexual harassment, and assault and low levels of dating violence (13.1%), high dating experiences, dating violence, and sexual assault (8.6%), and high dating experiences, dating violence, and sexual harassment and assault (6.3%). Compared to lesbian and gay adolescents, bisexual adolescents reported more experiences with dating, dating violence, and sexual assault, whereas heterosexual adolescents reported fewer experiences with dating, dating violence, and sexual harassment and assault. Compared to cisgender boys, cisgender girls, transgender boys, and non-binary/assigned male at birth adolescents were more likely to experience dating violence inside and outside of relationship contexts. Experiences of dating, dating violence, and sexual harassment and assault were associated with both drinking frequency and heavy episodic drinking. Together, the findings emphasize the relevance of relationship experiences when studying dating violence and how dating violence and sexual harassment and assault might explain disparities in alcohol use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15176-15204
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number17-18
Early online date14-Mar-2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2022


  • sexual minority
  • gender minority
  • dating violence
  • alcohol use
  • adolescents

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