Primary Sources: Do Teens' Views on Violence Predict Dating Abuse?

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Image of three young people arguing.

“Attitudes Affecting Physical Dating Violence Perpetration and Victimization: Findings From Adolescents in a High-Risk Urban Community” (abstract), Violence and Victims, Volume 26, Number 5, 2011.

What it’s about: The researchers surveyed over 4,000 urban middle- and high-school students to find out if attitudes about dating violence predicted whether or not teens acted violently toward their romantic partners or became victims of dating violence.

Why read it: Understanding what makes teen boys and girls more likely to act violently toward their girlfriends and boyfriends or to become victims of dating violence may help youth workers to prevent it.

Biggest takeaways for youth workers: Among the researchers’ findings:

  • Girls who thought hitting boys was OK, girls and boys whose peers acted violently towards dating partners or peers, and girls who used drugs were more likely to commit dating violence
  • Girls and boys who thought it was OK for girls to hit boys were more likely to be victims
  • Boys who thought hitting girls was OK were more likely to commit dating violence and more likely to be victims

These results, the researchers say, underscore the importance of working to change young people’s views on violence in intimate relationships.

Additional references: The Centers for Disease Control's Dating Matters Initiative promotes healthy teen relationships in economically disadvantaged urban communities. The initiative includes an online training for youth workers and teachers.

(Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children and Families. Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of these and other publications.)

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