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Racism and Sexism Raise the Risk of Teen Dating Violence

Black and Latino teenagers who experienced racism and sexism had a higher risk of being victims of teen dating violence, according to a new study co-authored by Professor Lynn Roberts at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

The findings, published in the journal Ethnicity and Disease, are important because the root causes of teen dating violence (TDV) are not well studied. TDV is often associated with individual characteristics, such as depression, substance abuse, early risky sexual behavior, and prior child abuse. This study provides an alternate explanation, which is that external factors such as racism and sexism are also risk factors.

The study did not find an association with sexism alone or racism alone, but only when teens had experienced both. Those who experienced both were 2.7 times more likely to experience dating violence than those who did not report both.

Responses to the questionnaires in this study suggest that teenagers who experience racism and sexism may feel disempowered. “The disproportionate police surveillance and detention of Black male teens, coupled with teen perceptions and experiences with public authority figures more broadly, may have implications for TDV,” the authors wrote. “Being Black and female (social identities) may not only pose greater risk of TDV, but also garner different responses from the larger society (social inequalities), especially if her abuser or her protector is Black and male.”

Beyond SUM

Explore This Work
“The Intersectionality of Racial and Gender Discrimination Among Teens Exposed to Dating Violence”

Work By
Lynn Roberts (Assistant Professor, Community Health and Social Sciences) | Profile 1

Colleges and Schools
Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy

Bonus Content
“Racial and Gender Discrimination among Teens Exposed to Dating Violence” (CUNY SPH News)

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