Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Monica Swahn

Second Advisor

John Steward



Nationally representative data of high school students in the U.S. indicate that levels of physical dating violence are higher among students in Georgia than in most states. This study seeks to understand the increased risk for physical dating violence among youth in Georgia and make recommendations for prevention and interventions.


Analyses were conducted using the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a nationally representative dataset sampling of high school students in grades 9-12 in the United States. Data from a total of 13,583 adolescents were used in the study. Physical dating violence was defined as reporting being hit, slammed into something, or injured with an object or weapon on purpose by someone they were dating or going out with among students who dated or went out with someone during the 12 months before the survey. Cross-sectional analyses of the prevalence of physical dating violence victimization by demographic characteristics will be conducted.


In the U.S. overall, 10.3% of high school students report any physical dating violence. Among the 38 states including data on physical dating violence in 2013, the state of Georgia ranked third highest (12.4%) only preceded by Louisiana (14.8%) and Arkansas (13.8%) for reports of physical dating violence. In Georgia, physical dating violence did not differ by grade level or by sex. However, in terms of race/ethnicity, Hispanic youth (18.1%) were significantly more likely than African American youth (9.6%) or of white youth (10.7%) to report physical dating violence.


The state of Georgia has high levels of physical dating violence among high school youth and Hispanic high school students are more likely to report physical dating victimization compared to their peers. Culturally specific risk factors and influences may be an important factor for public health professionals and policy makers to explore to reduce the health disparity and adverse health outcomes associated with dating violence among youth.