In young adulthood, females who had experienced teen dating violence reported increased depression symptoms and were 1.5 times more likely to binge drink or smoke and twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts.
In 1995, 7% of all murder victims were young women who were killed by their boyfriends.
In situations of dating violence, one partner tries to exert power and control over the other partner through physical abuse or sexual assault.
Dating violence can put young people at high risk for long-term health consequences, serious injury and even death.
Dating violence is a pattern of verbal, physical, sexual or emotional violence against a romantic partner.
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."They help them develop a sense of identity, a sense of autonomy.""This study is useful in exploring a range of consequential health outcomes that may be associated with teen dating violence," says Peggy Giordano, a sociologist who studies adolescent development at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.She was not involved in the study."The results show that effects can persist well past the period of adolescence itself, and suggest the need to consider the impact for young men as well as young women who report psychological and physical abuse experience."It's important that parents, educators and pediatricians talk to teens about dating violence so that those who need help can be linked quickly with prevention programs and assistance, says Exner-Cortens.As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences.Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development.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.