"These rates of adolescent dating violence are alarming and suggest that dating violence is simply too common among our youth," said researcher Michele Ybarra, Ph D, MPH, with the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, based in San Clemente, Calif., in a statement issued by the APA.
Teenagers in physically or psychologically aggressive dating relationships are more than twice as likely to repeat such damaging relationships as adults and report increased substance use and suicidal feelings years later, compared with teens with healthy dating experiences, reports a new Cornell study.
The findings suggest the need for parents, schools and health care providers to talk to teenagers about dating violence, given its long-reaching effects on adult relationships and mental health, the researchers say. 10 in the journal Pediatrics, the paper is the first longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample to show links between teen dating violence and later multiple adverse health outcomes in young adults.
It was revealed that about one in three American youths ages 14 to 20 say they have been victims of dating violence or have been violent toward a date — with girls reportedly on an equal footing with boys when it comes to violent behavior.
The data is part of the yet-to-be-published Growing Up With Media study that analyzed information collected from 1,058 young people in 20.
Participants were asked if a partner had ever used insults, name-calling or disrespect in front of others; had sworn at them; threatened violence; pushed or shoved them; or thrown objects that could hurt them.
About 20 percent of teen respondents reported psychological violence only, 9 percent reported physical and psychological violence, and 2 percent reported physical violence alone.
The study controlled for pubertal development, child maltreatment history and a range of socio-demographic factors."In addition to clarifying potential long-term impacts of teen dating violence victimization, our study highlights the importance of talking to all adolescents about dating and dating violence," Exner-Cortens said.
The authors found that teen girls and boys reported aggressive experiences in relationships nearly equally, with 30 percent of males and 31 percent of females in the study showing a history of physical and/or psychological dating violence."Teens are experiencing their first romantic relationships, so it could be that aggressive relationships are skewing their view of what's normal and healthy and putting them on a trajectory for future victimization," said lead author Deinera Exner-Cortens, M. '10, a doctoral student in the field of human development in the College of Human Ecology.
"In this regard, we found evidence that teen relationships can matter a great deal over the long run."Exner-Cortens and her co-authors analyzed a sample of 5,681 American heterosexual youths ages 12-18 from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health who were interviewed as teens and approximately five years later as young adults about their dating experiences and mental and behavioral health.