Background. Among university students in the United States, 32% report dating violence by a previous partner, and 21% report dating violence by a current partner (U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003). Since 15 million students were enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in 2000 (6.7 million males and 8.6 million females) (US Department of Education, 2003), dating violence impacts at lease 3.2 to 4.8 million young adults in the United States each year large.
Objective. This cross-sectional, predictive, correlational study will test the relationship of the symptoms of psychological distress, measured by symptoms of depression and symptoms of PTSD, and the influence of spiritual well-being among a sample of university students who had been dating within the last year and may have experienced dating violence victimization while attending university within Roy's Adaptation Model.
Methods. A convenience sample of 444 undergraduate students with a mean age of 19.76 years and an average completion of 3.69 semesters of university study were recruited from three private Roman Catholic universities in the Northeast United States. Data were collected by a web-based questionnaire derived from demographic information, the CES-10 depression scale, the Conflict Tactic scale(2), Conflict Tactic Family violence scale, Spiritual Well-Being scale, Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Depression scale and the AUDIT, an alcohol measurement scale.
Results. Overall, 32.21% of the sample recounted within the last year experiencing dating violence victimization with a significantly higher percentage of women (32.2%) reporting dating violence victimization compared to men (26.8%) (χ2 = 4.378, p = 0.036). Among the 20.72% of students identified as positive for symptoms of depression, those who experienced dating violence victimization (26.84% men and 36.22% women) were more likely to be positive for symptoms of depression compared to those subjects who did not experience dating violence victimization.
From the total sample, 2.02% of students were identified as positive for symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.
Measurements of spiritual well-being revealed that women reported significantly higher mean scores of religious well-being (RWB), existential well-being (EWB) and spiritual well-being (SWB) than men. RWB had a moderating effect on the relationship between dating violence victimization and symptoms of depression and PTSD. EWB had a partial mediating effect between dating violence victimization and symptoms of depression and a full mediating effect on symptoms of PTSD.
Conclusion. Both RWB and EWB facilitate adaption by moderating and mediating the effects of dating violence victimization controlling for gender, childhood exposure to family violence and problem drinking to symptoms of depression. These finding empirically validate an association between spirituality and mental health.
Keywords. Dating violence, Symptoms of depression, PTSD, Spiritual well-being, Roy Adaptation Model