Research on teen dating violence

Clearly the prevention of dating violence requires a commitment (both financial and otherwise) with the goal of establishing a consistent, coordinated, and integrated approach in every school and community.

Break the Cycle is proud to have been granted the Love is Not Abuse campaign from Fifth and Pacific (formerly Liz Claiborne, Inc.).

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According to the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, approximately 10 percent of adolescents nationwide reported being the victim of physical violence at the hands of a romantic partner during the previous year.[1] The rate of psychological victimization is even higher: Between two and three in 10 reported being verbally or psychologically abused in the previous year, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.[2]As for perpetration rates, there are currently no nationwide estimates for who does the abusing, and state estimates vary significantly.

In South Carolina, for example, nearly 8 percent of adolescents reported being physically violent to a romantic partner.

Teen dating violence appears to parallel violence in adult relationships in that it exists on a continuum ranging from verbal abuse to rape and murder (Sousa, 1999).

Teen victims may be especially vulnerable due to their inexperience in dating relationships, their susceptibility to peer pressure and their reluctance to tell an adult about the abuse (Cohall, 1999).

There is considerable controversy regarding whether violence in teen dating relationships involves mutual aggression and indeed several studies report higher rates of inflicting violence for females (Foshee, 1996; Gray & Foshee, 1997; O'Keefe, 1997).

Fundamental problems exist, however, in asserting gender parity regarding relationship violence.A number of school based programs focusing on reducing violence in teen dating relationships and promoting healthy respectful relationships show promising results.The majority of these programs have focused on increasing students' awareness and knowledge about dating violence, changing attitudes and norms that condone violence, and building conflict resolution and communication skills.Key risk factors consistently found in the literature to be associated with inflicting dating violence include the following: holding norms accepting or justifying the use of violence in dating relationships (Malik et al., 1997; O'Keefe, 1997); having friends in violent relationships (Arriaga & Foshee, 2004); exposure to violence in one's family and community violence (Foo & Margolin, 1995, O'Keefe, 1997; Schwartz et al., 1997); alcohol and drug use (O'Keeffe et al., 1986; Silverman et al., 2001); and a having a history of aggression (Riggs & O'Leary, 1989, Chase et al., 1998).The one factor that has consistently been associated with being the victim of dating violence, particularly for males, is inflicting dating violence (O'Keefe, 1997).Violence in teen dating relationships is alarmingly commonplace.

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