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Risk Factors for Experiencing Gender Based Violence Across Racial Groups

Baldwin-White, A., Daigle, L., & Teasdale, B. (2022).

Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 0(0), 1 – 24.


This study sought to understand the particular characteristics of Black, White, and Hispanic students that increase their risk of experiencing interpersonal violence victimization.

Expanded Abstract:

College student victimization is currently a major public health problem, with 20%–25% of female students and 7% of male students experiencing at least one sexual assault (Flack et al., 2015). Nearly 57% of adults who report experiencing abusive and violent dating behaviors said it occurred in college (National Domestic Violence Hotline), and 12% of college students experience stalking (McNamara & Marsil, 2012). Victimization is associated with lower academic efficacy, higher stress, and lower institutional commitment (Banyard et al., 2020; Jordan, Combs, & Smith, 2014). Victimization can also increase the potential for depression, anxiety, substance use, and posttraumatic stress (Banyard et al., 2020). Because of the negative impact of violence on college students, it is important to focus on prevention strategies that target known risk factors for victimization.

Researchers in this study performed a latent class analysis (LCA) using the Spring 2013 data from the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment II to determine whether the risk factors for victimization of college students vary based on race (LCA is a statistical procedure used to identify qualitatively different subgroups within populations that share certain outward characteristics). Data for the study was collected from 123,078 college students attending 153 institutions of higher learning.  

Results of this study showed a 5-class solution where each class had unique risks that increased the potential for interpersonal violence victimization based on the race of the respondent. The findings suggest that group-based differences need to be considered when developing prevention strategies to reduce the risk of victimization on college campuses. Because different risks increase victimization for White, Black, and Hispanic students, it is important to consider how risk reduction strategies may differ for these groups; and ensure that all prevention strategies are culturally informed.