Is Your Teen in an Abusive Relationship?

Teen dating violence can start young and involves all forms of abuse

(RxWiki News) More than a third of both young men and women in the U.S. experience some form of dating violence during adolescence. Some studies show up to 88 percent of young females are exposed.

A recent study interviewed college students on the subject and found that dating violence can come in many forms of abuse, and that it begins as early as 13 years old.

"Talk to your teen - dating violence is real."

Amy Bonomi, PhD, of Ohio State University led this study of 297 college students. The students were randomly sampled from university registrar records and were invited to complete an online survey.

The participants were asked questions regarding their dating history and dating violence issues between the ages of 13 and 19.

The questions covered physical, sexual and psychological abuse in dating situations.

Sixty-four percent of females and sixty-one percent of males reported they had experienced dating violence between the ages of 13 and 19, with most reporting multiple experiences.

More than one-third of abused females had two or more abusive partners.

The study found that both men and women experienced controlling behaviors, name-calling, pressured sex, insults, slapping or hitting, unwanted calls and texts and threats from their partners.

The most common abuse for females was threats of violence from their partners, over 62 percent of women reported threats. Fifty-five percent of men experienced threats from their partners.

The study found that dating violence began as early as age 13 for women who experienced abuse, and by age 15 the majority of these women were being pressured to have sex.

For men who experienced dating violence, much of the abuse began before age 15.

This study suggests that dating violence takes many forms including physical, psychological and sexual abuse, and it commonly begins at an early age.

These findings stress the importance of talking to older children and teens about types of dating violence and how to get help.

If you or someone you know is experiencing dating violence, call the national dating violence hotline at 1-866-331-9474 for resources.

This study was published in August in the British Medical Council Public Health Journal. No conflicts of interest were found.

Review Date: 
September 23, 2012