The primary objective of this R03 is to examine whether adolescent exposure to IPV increases risk of obesity in young adulthood and whether depressive symptoms, health behaviors or C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, mediate this relationship. Our central hypothesis is that IPV exposure in adolescence leads to increased adiposity (body mass and waist circumference) from adolescence to adulthood. We will test this hypothesis using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Among the 10,120 respondents who participated in all 4 waves of data collection, we will use structural equation modeling to examine the relationship between IPV and adiposity and whether this relationship is mediated by depressive symptoms, weight promoting health behaviors, and inflammation. We will also explore whether these direct and indirect relationships differ by race/ethnicity, sex, prior exposure to child maltreatment, and characteristics of the relationship, namely whether the violence is bi-directional (both partners use violence against the other) or uni-directional. This project supports our long-term goal of contributing evidence on the mechanisms linking early violence exposure to chronic disease in adulthood to highlight at risk populations and points of intervention at which health disparities may be mitigated.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study has high public health relevance as it will yield important information about the pathways by which intimate partner violence (IPV) may lead to obesity. IPV and obesity are both major public health problems characterized by disparities that are apparent in adolescence. Knowledge of their relationship could inform cross-cutting upstream interventions geared toward violence and obesity prevention.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
Program Officer
Maholmes, Valerie
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Spencer, Rachael A; Renner, Lynette M; Clark, Cari Jo (2016) Patterns of Dating Violence Perpetration and Victimization in U.S. Young Adult Males and Females. J Interpers Violence 31:2576-97
Clark, Cari Jo; Alonso, Alvaro; Everson-Rose, Susan A et al. (2016) Intimate partner violence in late adolescence and young adulthood and subsequent cardiovascular risk in adulthood. Prev Med 87:132-137
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