Experiences of Exploitation and Associations With Economic Abuse in Adolescent Dating Relationships: Findings From a U.S. Cross-Sectional Survey.

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DOI: 10.1080/15299732.2023.2212404


Adolescent relationship abuse (ARA) (i.e. physical, sexual, psychological, or economic abuse in the context of romantic relationships) is associated with adverse health outcomes, including anxiety, depression, suicidality, unintended pregnancy, and substance misuse. A related phenomenon, reproductive coercion involves interference with the reproductive decision making of a partner with the intention of promoting pregnancy or controlling outcomes of a pregnancy. Reproductive coercion is associated with unintended pregnancy, partner violence, and sexually transmitted infections. Little is known about the intersection between economic ARA, sexual exploitation, and reproductive coercion. This paper explores the intersections between reproductive coercion, transactional sex, and economic abuse victimization in adolescent dating relationships. In an online survey, 1,752 adolescents (ages 13-17) were asked about economic adolescent relationship abuse (educational, employment and financial interference), transactional sex, reproductive coercion, and contraceptive access within their relationships. We assessed associations with chi-square tests and logistic regression analysis. Youth who experienced economic ARA (70%, 1,232) reported financial dependence on their partner, contraceptive access, and reproductive coercion (74-83%; p-values< 0.001) more often than their counterparts without economic ARA. Adolescents experiencing economic abuse were more likely to report transactional sex (aOR = 2.76, CI [2.12, 3.60], p < .001), depending on a partner to pay for contraception or birth control (aOR = 2.20, CI [1.71, 2.84], p < .001), and reproductive coercion (aOR = 3.20, CI [2.37, 4.32], p < .001). Youth-serving providers and agencies should be aware of intersections between economic ARA, transactional sex, financial dependence, and reproductive coercion, particularly for adolescents with health-related social needs.

Journal Title

J Trauma Dissociation





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MeSH Keywords

Pregnancy; Female; Adolescent; Humans; Cross-Sectional Studies; Sexual Behavior; Violence; Coercion; Crime Victims; Intimate Partner Violence


Sexual exploitation; adolescent dating violence; adolescent relationship abuse; adolescents; economic abuse; sexual violence

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