Sociology Ph.D. Dissertations

Teen Dating Violence Victimization in a Life-Course Perspective: Linkages to Delinquency and Adult Criminal Behavior

Lecinda Yevchak, Bowling Green State University


Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), this work investigates the criminal outcomes of adolescent dating victimization. Results highlight the importance of victimization in predicting criminal behaviors in both adolescence and young adulthood. In addition, investigation into the moderating effects of demographic variables indicates that several of the relationships between victimization and criminal outcomes are contingent on gender, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Additional analyses guided by General Strain Theory (GST) investigated the role of negative emotions which were expected to affect the relationship between victimization and criminal outcomes.

Results demonstrate the negative impact of experiencing victimization by an adolescent romantic partner. Victimization was a significant predictor of all four outcomes in adolescence as well as in young adulthood. Although victimization was significant for males and females, several models indicate that dating victimization has a stronger effect for females, particularly during adolescence. Females had increased odds of involvement in criminal offending, heavy drinking, and illegal drug use in adolescence. For white respondents and those categorized in the high socioeconomic status, dating victimization had a strong effect on their increased odds of illegal drug use. Finally, negative emotions (anger, depression, and self-esteem) are found to play some role in the relationship between dating victimization and these criminal outcomes. However, future research should focus on more precise measurements to untangle how negative emotions impact these relationships.