Nevin Manimala Statistics

Social norms concerning dating and relationship violence and gender among adolescents: a systematic review of survey measures used in dating and relationship violence research

Lancet. 2022 Nov;400 Suppl 1:S65. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)02275-9.


BACKGROUND: Adolescent dating and relationship violence (DRV) is widespread and associated with increased risk of subsequent poor mental health outcomes and partner violence in adulthood. Shifting social norms could be important for reducing DRV. We aimed to map and evaluate measures of social norms concerning DRV and gender reported in DRV research.

METHODS: We did a systematic review of global peer-reviewed and grey DRV literature in English, reporting on content and validity of measures used with individuals aged 10-18 years in four domains: descriptive DRV norms, injunctive DRV norms, descriptive gender norms, and injunctive gender norms. Searches included nine databases and Google Scholar (original search up to June, 2019; updated March, 2022), organisation websites (June, 2020), reference checking and known studies (June, 2019-May, 2022), and expert requests (September, 2019-April, 2022). Search terms included three concepts linked by “AND”: “social norms concerning DRV and/or gender”, “DRV”, and “adolescents”. Results were screened by title and abstract and then full text. After data extraction we summarised measure characteristics within each domain and assessed measures against seven quality criteria: participatory development, defined reference group, reliability (internal consistency, test-retest reliability, or split-half reliability), content validity, construct validity (association with DRV behaviour), other evidence of construct validity (association with theoretically related constructs) or convergent validity (factor analysis), and statistically desirable properties (responsiveness, absence of floor or ceiling effects, or data available on measures of central tendency and distribution of total score).

FINDINGS: 24 reports were included (14 North America, four Africa, four Europe, one Middle East, one Latin America) containing 40 measures assessing DRV (n=33) and gender (n=7) norms. No measure was shared across studies. 36 (90%) measures were significantly associated with DRV outcomes, 24 (60%) showed good reliability, and 38 (95%) had a defined reference group. Other evidence of quality was mixed. Several DRV norm measures specified heterosexual relationships, but measures rarely separated norms governing DRV by girls and boys. No measures specified same-sex relationships. Gender norm measures focused on violence, but missed broader gendered expectations underpinning DRV.

INTERPRETATION: Valid, reliable measures of social norms associated with DRV exist, but measurement methods are inconsistent. Researchers should report on development and quality of such measures, which should be gender-specific when norms exert gendered influence, consider sexual minority relationships, and assess gender norms beyond gendered violence. Evaluators should draw on such measures to assess whether changes to norms mediate effect on DRV.

FUNDING: US Agency for International Development (agreement number AID-OAA-A-15-00042).

PMID:36426484 | DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(22)02275-9

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