The goals of this study were to test the relationship between dating violence victimization (i.e., verbal, emotional, and physical abuse) and psychological well-being (i.e., depressive symptomatology, self-esteem, and body image) among 522 African American girls, and to determine whether social support acted as a buffer of negative effects (moderator) or as an intervening factor (mediator) in the relationship between dating violence victimization and psychological well-being. Results from structural equation modeling indicated that dating violence victimization was associated with negative psychological outcomes. Although social support did not moderate this relationship, it served as a mediator of the relationship between dating violence victimization and psychological well-being. Dating violence programs for African American girls should consider how to incorporate family, church, and other networks in the community to foster support, and allow adolescent girls to discuss their abusive experiences in a nonblaming environment. If programs are able to buoy girls who experience dating violence, then they may be able to ameliorate the associated negative psychological sequelae.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Health(social science)