Importance: Sexual violence is a significant public health issue. The National Institutes of Justice estimate that over one million people are victims of rape and sexual assault each year, resulting in an annual $127 billion in associated victim costs. Adult domestic violence is estimated to affect 2.3 million victims and cost an additional $67 billion per year. Although serious sexual violence is common, a comprehensive understanding of how sexual violence perpetration develops is lacking. Objectives: Our multidisciplinary team of professionals brings together expertise in child sexual and physical abuse, youth violence, adolescent Internet health, and quantitative statistics. Specifically, we aim to:
Specific Aim 1 : Identify the proximal pathways contributing to the etiology of sexual violence perpetration, focusing on children and adolescents as this is the developmental period where it is likely to begin.
Specific Aim 2 : Acknowledging the strong influence that newer technologies are having on the socialization of youth today, include the Internet and cell phone text messaging as environments where sexual violence perpetration may occur. To achieve these aims, we will pay particular attention to the following:
Sub Aim 1 : Identifying populations at high-risk for perpetration of sexual violence, such as those who are exposed to spousal abuse in their family.
Sub Aim 2 : Identifying the modifiable risk (e.g., alcohol use during sex) and protective factors (e.g., low endorsement of the rape myth belief) that are amenable to prevention and intervention efforts.
Sub Aim 3 : Examining trends across age to: 1) identify optimal developmental periods and settings for intervention, and 2) whether there are multiple developmental pathways extending into sexual violence perpetration as youth transition from adolescence into young adulthood. Study Design: The Growing up with Media survey is a 2-year, 3-wave national longitudinal study of 1,588 children funded through a CDC cooperative agreement (CDC U49CE000206). The study ended in December, 2008.
The aim of the study was to examine youth exposures to violent media and the subsequent expression of seriously violent and aggressive behavior. Measures were included to assess sexually aggressive behavior, both in face-to-face and in technology-based (e.g., Internet, text messaging) environments. In response to the CDC's call for Research Grants for Preventing Violence and Violence -Related Injury (RFA-CE-09-007), we propose to extend the follow-up of the Growing up with Media cohort for three more years. In doing so, we will have exposure and outcome data for youth from the time they were 10-15 years of age to the time they are 16-21 years of age. This proposal is consistent with the Injury Center's priority F of the CDC Injury Research Agenda for intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and child maltreatment research. Capitalizing on the opportunity to collect a rich data set, our study will expand to examine the factors that are associated with the development of sexual violence perpetration across adolescence and the transition into young adulthood. Setting: Online survey of randomly identified households within the national Harris Poll OnlineSM (HPOL) sample Participants: Eligible respondents for Wave 1 were defined as caregivers who were: a) HPOL Member;b) Caregiver of a 10 to 15 year old child who lives in the household at least 50% of the time;c) Equally familiar / most familiar with child's daily activities;and d) provided informed consent to participate in the survey, Youth were required to have accessed the Internet at least once in the past 6 months (to create variability of exposure in the sample);and provide informed assent. All participants recruited for Wave 1 will be eligible and actively recruited for Waves 4 - 6 proposed here. Outcome Measures: In accordance with the CDC's definition of sexual violence, a wide range of behaviors will be queried of both males and females. General sexual aggression has been measured at each wave with the following question: """"""""In the past 12 months, have you kissed, touched, or done anything sexual with another person when that person did not want you to"""""""" do so. Starting with Wave 4, uninvited sexual advances, unwanted sexual contact, sexual coercion, and attempted or completed rape will be measured with the Sexual Experiences Survey. Findings from the extended follow-up of the Growing up with Media study will provide insight into the etiology of sexual violence perpetration as youth transition from adolescence into adulthood.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCE1-FXR (04))
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Thierry, Joann
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Center for Innovative Public Health Research
San Clemente
United States
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Ybarra, Michele L; Espelage, Dorothy L; Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Jennifer et al. (2016) Lifetime Prevalence Rates and Overlap of Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Dating Abuse Perpetration and Victimization in a National Sample of Youth. Arch Sex Behav 45:1083-99
Ybarra, Michele L; Strasburger, Victor C; Mitchell, Kimberly J (2014) Sexual media exposure, sexual behavior, and sexual violence victimization in adolescence. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 53:1239-47
Ybarra, Michele L; Mitchell, Kimberly J (2013) Prevalence rates of male and female sexual violence perpetrators in a national sample of adolescents. JAMA Pediatr 167:1125-34