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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Association Found between Marijuana Use and Adolescent Dating Violence

Marijuana use is associated with an increased likelihood of physical dating violence among adolescents, although the reasons why remain unclear, and there is no indication that marijuana “causes” violence, says a study co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Noting that a number of states have loosened restrictions on marijuana, researchers from BUSPH and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted a review and meta-analysis of studies on marijuana use and physical dating violence (PDV), to gauge whether adolescent users were more likely than non-users to be perpetrators or victims of PDV. They found that marijuana use was associated with a 54 percent increase in the odds of PDV victimization and a less significant increase in the odds of perpetration. The association was stronger for girls than for boys.

“Given the current state of the literature, it is difficult to estimate how changes in marijuana use (subject to policy change) would impact the prevalence of dating violence,” says the study, published online by the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“If marijuana increases the likelihood of specific incidents of dating violence, increases in use would likely result in increases in violence. However, if marijuana co-occurs, but does not lead to violence, an increase in marijuana use would result in only minimal changes in dating violence.”

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