Intimate partner violence (IPV) among sexual minority young adults has been understudied, and victimization and perpetration estimates are needed.
Data on 13,653 women and men aged 24–32 who participated in Wave 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health were used to examine associations between sexual orientation and IPV perpetration and victimization in respondents’ current or most recent relationship. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify associations between respondent characteristics and three IPV categories (physical violence, threatened violence and forced sex).
Some 94% of males and 80% of females identified as 100% heterosexual; 4% of males and 16% of females as mostly heterosexual; 1% of males and 2% of females as bisexual; and 2% of males and females as either mostly homosexual or 100% homosexual. Compared with their heterosexual counterparts, mostly heterosexual women were more likely to report having perpetrated or been a victim of physical IPV (odds ratios, 1.9 and 1.6, respectively), having threatened violence (2.0) and having been a victim of threatened violence and forced sex (1.6 for each); mostly heterosexual males were more likely to have been a perpetrator or victim of physical IPV (3.1 and 1.8, respectively) and a perpetrator of forced sex and threatened violence (2.0 and 1.8, respectively). Bisexual males had elevated odds of physical violence victimization (3.3) and forced sex victimization (4.9) and perpetration (5.0).
Some sexual minority groups are disproportionately affected by IPV, indicating a need for increased prevention efforts and for studies exploring the mechanisms underlying these differences.
Alison D. Swiatlo is a doctoral student and predoctoral trainee; Nicole F. Kahn is adjunct assistant professor at the Department of Maternal and Child Health; and Carolyn T. Halpern is professor and chair of the Department of Maternal and Child Health, and faculty fellow at the Carolina Population Center—all at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.