Physical and Emotional Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Experiences of College Students in Southern Appalachia

Document Type


Publication Date

June 2016


BACKGROUND: This study examines characteristics and correlates of physical and emotional IPV in a college sample in southern Appalachia and further explores differences in the effect of correlates on perpetration and victimization. METHODS: Data were obtained from a health behavior questionnaire administered online at a university in southern Appalachia from July- December 2014. Sample included 992 participants who answered five questions on physical and emotional IPV; two on perpetration and three on victimization. Descriptive statistics were completed for age, race, sex, college year, rurality/ urbanicity, nine sexual risk behaviors, relationship status, sexual preference and IPV. Logistic regression models used gender, college year and sexual risk behaviors to predict IPV. RESULTS: The sample was mostly female (69.3%), Caucasian (84.2%), freshmen (56.9%), unmarried (94.7%) and heterosexual (92.6%) with average age 20 years (M=20.1, SD= 4.05). Population involved in IPV as either victim or perpetrator was 37.3%. There was no association between rurality/urbanicity and victimization or perpetration (χ2 = .13, p= .94: χ2 = .51, p= .77 respectively). Predictors of perpetration were: female (OR: 3.01, CI: 1.61- 5.65), college junior (OR: 2.96, CI: 1.61- 5.43), early sexual debut (OR: 2.19, CI: 1.35 -3.55) and illicit drug use during sex (OR: 1.92, CI: 1.144- 3.22). IPV victims were female (OR: 1.96 CI: 1.36- 2.83) with early sexual debut (OR: 1.50, CI: 1.05-2.14) using alcohol during sex (OR: 1.50, CI: 1.04- 2.16) and whose previous partner had multiple sexual partners (OR: 1.61, CI: 1.06-2.44). CONCLUSIONS: The risk of IPV victimization or perpetration in this sample was significantly increased by being female and involvement in sexual risk behaviors. Seniority in college increased the risk of perpetration. IPV awareness programs should integrate sexual risk behavior modules and be conducted in the early college years to be maximally effective.


Miami, FL

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Abstract is also available through the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

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