Youth Dating Violence Common Among Teens, Says Research

Youth dating violence hasn’t gone away. Around one in three teens or young people aged 14 to 20 have been a victim of dating violence — and nearly that many admit that they’re perpetrated the violence themselves.

The disturbing news was reported Wednesday in a statement from the American Psychological Association about new dating violence research presented by Michele Ybarra at the APA’s 121st annual convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ybarra works for the California-based Center for Innovative Public Health Research.

The researchers analyzed data from over 1,000 young people in 2011 and 2012 who participated in an online survey funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It’s worth noting that the study included physical, sexual, and psychological/emotional violence as possible forms of violence that teens could experience or commit in the course of a dating relationship. Older studies didn’t always focus on the harm caused by emotional abuse or bullying.

In a US News & World Report on the study, Ybarra explained the significance of the frustrating findings: “These rates of adolescent dating violence are alarming and suggest that dating violence is simply too common among our youth…We need to think about the dynamics within relationships that may result in someone both perpetrating and being victimized by their partner.”

Findings From The Youth Dating Violence Research:

  • Girls are much more likely to be victims of teen dating violence than boys — and they’re also more likely to say that they were physically violent toward a date. 41 percent of the girls were victims, while 35 percent of girls said they were perpetrators.
  • Boys said that they were much more likely to be victims of dating violence, with 37 percent saying they’d been hurt. Only 29 percent admitted to being the perpetrators themselves.
  • Boys were more likely to say that they had been sexually violent toward a date.
  • Almost one-third of girls — 29 percent — said they were both victims and perpetrators of dating violence. Almost one-quarter — 24 percent — of boys said the same thing.

The new research strongly suggests there’s more work to be done to fight teen and youth dating violence.

[image of models to represent struggling couple is by siamionau pavel via Shutterstock]