ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1334.v1
Subject: Public Health And Healthcare, Public Health And Health Services Keywords: victimizing and perpetrating violence; interpersonal and intimate violence; harmful alcohol and drug use; mental health symptoms; paths of violence; gender
Online: 18 May 2023 (10:46:13 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic may have increased interpersonal and intimate violence, harmful use of alcohol and other drugs (AOD), and mental health problems. The present study uses a valid path model to describe relationships between these conditions of young Mexicans during the second year of the pandemic. A sample of 7,420 young Mexicans ages 18 to 24—two-thirds of whom were women—completed the Life Events Checklist, the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test, the Major-Depressive-Episode Checklist, the Generalized Anxiety Scale, and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Checklist. Young Mexicans reported higher rates of victimization and perpetration of interpersonal and intimate violence and mental health symptomatology than those noted pre-pandemic and in the first year of the pandemic. Harmful use of AOD rates were like those reported by adolescents before. Findings suggested asymmetric victimization and perpetration of intimate violence by gender (with women being at a higher risk than men, p≤.05). More men than women engaged in the harmful use of AOD (except for sedatives, which more women abuse). In contrast, more women than men were at risk of all mental health conditions. The path model indicates that being a victim of intimate violence predicts harmful use of tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and sedatives, depression, anxiety, and specific PTSD symptoms (such as re-experimentation and avoidance symptoms). Being a victim of interpersonal violence resulted in severe PTSD symptoms (including avoidance, negative alterations in cognition-mood, and hyperarousal signs). Harmful use of sedatives predicted depressive symptoms. Men´s victimizing intimate violence model contrasted with that of women, which also included being the victim of interpersonal violence and severe PTSD symptoms. The high school youth model had three paths -victimizing-intimate violence, victimizing-interpersonal abuse, and sedative use, which predicted depression. The findings of this study could serve as the basis for future studies exploring mechanisms that predict violence patterns to develop the most cost-effective preventive programs and public policies and to address mental health conditions during community emergencies.