For teens, dating is about more than just finding a boyfriend or girlfriend.It’s a critical part of adolescent development, but with reports of increased violence occurring within relationships, there is growing concern about how that early experience with dating aggression can impact young-adult relationships.The study found that the intervention created a long-term improvement in students’ knowledge of dating violence, reduced tolerance for aggressive or violent behavior, and improved teens’ perceptions about getting help if they experienced dating violence.The study also found that Latino teens are most likely to turn to peers for help, and consequently, peer counselors are a promising source for assistance.And those who were treated badly in their younger years were two to three times more likely to get stuck in the same patterns of dating aggression as they got older.
Yet, note the authors, “psychological aggression in teen dating relationships is an understudied phenomenon.” “When early dating experiences are unhealthy, it may negatively affect teens’ view of what a healthy dating relationship should look like,” says lead author Deinera Exner-Cortens, a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 9.4% of teens in a recent survey reported being physically abused by a romantic partner in the past 12 months — that included being slapped, hit or intentionally injured.
There is also evidence that adolescents who experience violence in early relationships are more vulnerable to being abused again, and indeed the latest study on the issue published in the journal Pediatrics shows that teens who experienced aggression from a romantic partner between the ages of 12 and 18 were up to three times as likely to be revictimized in relationships as young adults.
Classes were assigned randomly to receive the “Ending Violence” curriculum or the standard health curriculum.
A total of 2,540 students from ten schools and 110 classes participated.