Development and Testing of Digital Dating Abuse Measure for Sexual Minority Youth


Dr. JaNelle Ricks, College of Public Health
Rank at time of award: Assistant Professor
Dr. Deena Chisolm, College of Public Health
Rank at time of award: Professor
Dr. Jolynn Pek, Department of Psychology
Rank at time of award: Assistant Professor
Dr. Anna Kerlek, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
at Nationwide Children's Hospital


Significance: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a preventable form of abuse that often leads to hospitalization, homelessness, disability, and/or death.Sexual minorities are disproportionately exposed to IPVand experience worse outcomes than heterosexuals.For many adult IPV victims, dating violence is first experienced during adolescence. Adolescent dating violence is pervasive and digital dating abuse(DDA, i.e., “electronic aggression” or “cyber dating abuse”) is a significant risk for sexual minority adolescents due to unique internet use behavior and motivations. Addressing this risk, however, is difficult because current measures of adolescent dating violence and DDA lack robust psychometric evaluation and have limited assessment in sexual minorities.The proposed work will address these gaps in research and measurement by extending current work on DDAto develop and pilot a screening tool appropriate for rapid identification of sexual minority adolescents who have experienced DDAand may be suffering from its sequelae. Aims: using an exploratory sequential mixed-methods study design we aim to: conduct formative researchcomprising 1) integrative review of the literature on the ‘state of the science’ onDDA and systematic review of the psychometric properties of adolescent DDA instruments; 2) in-depth qualitative analyses of focus group discussions (FGDs) with internet-using sexual minority adolescents(n=6) to elicit narratives about experiences of DDA and cognitive interviews (CIs) with internet-using sexual minority adolescents(n=20) to assess content validity of existing survey items on DDA. FGD transcripts will be coded using a grounded theory approach. CI transcripts will be coded using framework analysis. Content analysis of intended responses to items will also be conducted. Pilot measure developmentwill then be undertaken to draft a novel questionnaire, and assess its linguistic and face validity with internet-using sexual minority (n=20) and non-sexual minority adolescents (n=20). Revisions will be made as appropriate. Pilot testing of the revised draft questionnaire will involve deployment to 150 internet-using sexual minority adolescents. All participants will be asked to complete the questionnaire a second time to assess test-retest reliability. Unidimensionality, item fit, factor structure, and person separation will be tested. Differential item functioning byrace/ethnicity and gender will be assessed.Impact: the instrument developed during this workwill take into account the complexity of the lives of sexual minority adolescents, allowing for a deeper understanding of risks and consequences of DDA and improved ability to inform and shape public health prioritiesfor sexual minorities.