All material contained on these pages are free of copyright restrictions and may be copied, reproduced, or duplicated without permission of the Office on Women’s Health in the U. Victims of teen dating violence are at increased risk of mood and behavior problems as young adults, and at increased risk for future violent relationships, a new study suggests.Researchers who analyzed data from a nationally representative survey of 5,681 teens ages 12 to 18 found roughly 30% of both boys and girls said they had been the victim in an aggressive heterosexual dating relationship.This adds to a body of research suggesting that teen dating violence "is a substantial public health problem," says the study, in today's Pediatrics.About 20% of both girls and boys said they experienced only psychological violence; 2% of girls and 3% of boys said just physical. When researchers analyzed data from the same young adults five years later, they found notable differences:• Girls victimized by a teen boyfriend reported more heavy drinking, smoking, depression and thoughts of suicide.• Boys who had been victimized reported increased anti-social behaviors, such as delinquency, marijuana use and thoughts of suicide.• Those of both sexes who were in aggressive relationships as teens were two to three times more likely to be in violent relationships as young adults.The data did not specifically address why many of the negative outcomes were different for boys and girls, or explain the conditions that led to revictimization, says Deinera Exner-Cortens, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at Cornell University."We know that girls are more likely to experience more severe physical violence, sexual violence and injury, and they report more fear around their aggressive dating experiences," she says.
For victims of abuse, the effects of these types of violent actions, often long-lasting, can include depression and anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and even suicide attempts.Adult victims of rape and other forms of physical or psychological abuse have reported some form of earlier intimate partner violence as early as 11 years of age.Teenagers who are victims of dating abuse in high school are at higher than average risk of similar victimization when they get to college.Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships may contribute to negative consequences.
Research focused on the consequences of teen dating violence have similar limitations as those focused on identifying risk factors for teen dating violence making it difficult to make causal connections between teen dating violence and certain outcomes.
Despite limitations, correlational research suggests that victims of teen dating violence are more likely to Abusers involved in teen dating violence create a pattern of behavior for themselves, which puts them at risk for ruining future relationships.