Identifying Pathways from Gender and Sexual Orientation Stigma to Sexual Assault and Dating Violence in Adolescence and Young Adulthood
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MURCHISON, Gabriel Rivers Naniwai
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CitationMURCHISON, Gabriel Rivers Naniwai. 2021. Identifying Pathways from Gender and Sexual Orientation Stigma to Sexual Assault and Dating Violence in Adolescence and Young Adulthood. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractSexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents and young adults are at elevated risk of both sexual assault and dating/intimate partner violence victimization compared to their cisgender heterosexual peers. This dissertation addresses processes that may relate anti-SGM stigma to interpersonal victimization (sexual assault victimization; dating violence involvement; being controlled by a romantic partner) in adolescence and young adulthood.
The first study addresses the associations among sexual harassment victimization in early adolescence, psychological distress in early adolescence, and dating violence involvement measured in 9th grade in a mixed sample of SGM and non-SGM adolescents. Using longitudinal survey data from 4,718 students in Kansas and Illinois, we found that higher levels of sexual harassment victimization were concurrently associated with higher levels of psychological distress, and higher levels of psychological distress were prospectively associated with higher levels of sexual harassment victimization. Among boys, higher levels of sexual harassment victimization were concurrently associated with higher levels of psychological distress, but psychological distress was not prospectively associated with sexual harassment victimization. For all adolescents, above-mean sexual harassment victimization in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades was associated with higher levels of dating violence victimization and perpetration measured in 9th grade, while above-mean psychological distress in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades was not significantly associated with dating violence victimization or perpetration measured in 9th grade. These findings suggest that chronic sexual harassment victimization in early adolescence is a risk factor for dating violence perpetration and victimization and that the relationship between psychological distress and sexual harassment victimization varies by gender.
The second study addresses the extent to which school adult guardianship, bullying victimization, unexcused absences, and family adversity may mediate the disparity in sexual assault and dating violence victimization between SGM and non-SGM adolescents. We used cross-sectional survey data from 15,467 students attending high schools in Dane County, Wisconsin. We found significant indirect effects of SGM identity on sexual assault and/or dating violence victimization via unexcused absences, bullying victimization, and family adversity, with associations varying between subgroups of SGMs. The results suggest that higher levels of other forms of victimization, both at school and within families, may be substantial contributors to SGM adolescents’ elevated risk of sexual assault and dating violence victimization.
The third study addresses the association between stigma and being controlled by a romantic partner among transgender and nonbinary young adults, including the extent to which responses to stigma (internalized stigma, anticipated stigma, and nondisclosure) and economic factors (educational attainment, food insecurity, housing instability, and sex work participation) mediate this association. Using data from an online survey of U.S. transgender and nonbinary young adults (ages 18-30 years) with a history of romantic relationships (n=618), we found that internalized stigma and economic factors partially mediated the positive association between stigma exposure and recent controlling relationship involvement. The results suggest that internalized stigma and economic factors may be ways in which anti-transgender stigma contributes to controlling relationship involvement.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368392
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