Teens report dating violence

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Nearly a third of those dating in middle and high school report abusive relationships, according to a UGA study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The study revealed that middle and high school students involved in physically violent romantic relationships consistently report violence across time and that they are likely to be both victims and offenders.

Researchers from the College of Public Health and members of the youth violence prevention work group at UGA followed a cohort of adolescents from northeast Georgia from sixth to 12th grade. Participants were surveyed each year for seven years. Each spring, students reported whether they had dated. If they did date, participants specified any acts of violence in the relationship, as well as their acceptability of these behaviors.

Among the sixth-graders who reported dating, 14 percent of boys and 24 percent of girls reported committing at least one act of physical violence. That same year, nearly 38 percent of boys and 22 percent of girls reported being victims of dating violence.

In 12th grade, 14 percent of boys and 32 percent of girls reported perpetrating dating violence while 32 percent of boys and 26 percent of girls reported being victims.

Not surprisingly, students in the high dating aggression group also reported a worse relationship with their partner. However, overall rating of care from the partner was high, suggesting that these relationships do offer some support in spite of the violence.

The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

To read the abstract of the journal article, go to http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10964-012-9881-5.