Teenagers and Dating Violence

In the process of socializing during adolescence, early teens usually remain in same-sex groups with very little social contact with the opposite sex, while mid-adolescents tend to hang out together in a loose confederation of boys and girls. In early and mid-adolescence, teenagers often involve themselves in a series of short-term relationships, which may be labeled as crushes, being smitten, or falling in love. However, they are all usually characterized by high emotional intensity and often last a short period of time, but are usually flashes of romantic feelings that actually provide a training ground for future more stable relationships during adolescence.

For many teenagers, the quality of the dating experience and the predictive value of the first romantic relationship may contribute to youth's conceptualization of a relationship. Teenagers who do not have emotional difficulties will be able to further boost their successful movement from the dependence of childhood to the independence of adulthood. The process of dating can function as a source of psychological support for those who are feeling lonely, for teenagers who are in authority conflicts or are just feeling bored. Dating can also serve as a protection source for teenagers who have strict family values that differ from those held by their peers.

Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teenager's emotional development, while unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can cause both short- and long-term negative effects on the individual's development into adulthood. Teen dating violence is defined as the physical, sexual, or emotional violence within a dating relationship. Teen dating violence could be also referred to as relationship abuse, intimate partner violence, relationship violence, dating abuse, domestic abuse or domestic violence.

Dating violence occurs between two people in a close relationship. Its nature can be physical (a partner is pinched, hit, shoved, or kicked), emotional (threatening a partner or harming his or her sense of self-worth), or sexual (forcing a partner to engage in a sexual activity when he or she does not or cannot consent). Dating violence can occur in both casual dating situations and serious, long-term relationships. Becoming a victim of violence during a dating relationship can be confusing and frightening at any age. But for teenagers, who are just beginning to date and develop romantic relationships as well as personal values and beliefs, it is very important that this abuse is recognized. When the abuse is physical or sexual, it can be easy to identify, while emotional abuse is much harder to be recognized and at the same time is no less damaging.

Adolescent atypical dating patterns, including involvement in dating violence, could be a result of child maltreatment or domestic violence. Whether a direct or indirect exposure to parental aggression occurs, aggression is a viable, and perhaps preferred, behavioral option that may be learned. Instead of acquiring a tendency to repeat specific forms of aggression such as those specifically witnessed, children may also acquire a more generalized tendency toward domineering and controlling behavior. Domestic violence affects every member of the family. Children and teenagers who witness family violence are affected in ways similar to those who are physically abused. Therefore, they are at greater risk for abuse and neglect if they live in a violent home.

Dating violence is a significant problem among adolescents. It can have a negative effect on health throughout life. Teenagers who become victims are more likely to do poorly in school or engage in unhealthy behaviors, like drug and alcohol use. The anger and stress resulting from the engagement in dating violence may lead to eating disorders and depression, even to suicide attempts. In addition, the isolation of teenagers who were a part of abusive dating situations may make it hard for the victim to develop new and mature relationships in the future, to feel emotionally independent or to develop personal values and beliefs. Victims of teenage dating violence may also carry the patterns of violence into their future romantic relationships.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Adolescent Romantic Relations and Sexual Behavior: Theory, Research, and Practical Implications
Paul Florsheim.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Child Maltreatment, Adolescent Dating, and Adolescent Dating Violence" and Chap. 10 "The Development of Aggression in Young Male/Female Couples"
Violence in Dating Relationships: Emerging Social Issues
Maureen A. Pirog-Good; Jan E. Stets.
Praeger, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Help-Seeking Behavior of Physically and Sexually Abused College Students," Chap. 8 "Hidden Rape: Sexual Aggression and Victimization in a National Sample of Students in Higher Education," and Chap. 14 "Acquaintance Rape on Campus: Responsibil
Youth Dating Violence
James, William H.; West, Carolyn; Deters, Karla Ezrre; Armijo, Eduardo.
Adolescence, Vol. 35, No. 139, Fall 2000
Abuse in Dating Relationships: Young People's Accounts of Disclosure, Non-Disclosure, Help-Seeking and Prevention Education
Jackson, Sue.
New Zealand Journal of Psychology, Vol. 31, No. 2, December 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Psychosocial Factors Associated with Adolescent Boys' Reports of Dating Violence
Howard, Donna E.; Wang, Min Qi.
Adolescence, Vol. 38, No. 151, Fall 2003
Sex before Violence: Girls, Dating Violence, and (Perceived) Sexual Autonomy
Hanna, Cheryl.
Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2, January 2006
The Violence and Addiction Equation: Theoretical and Clinical Issues in Substance Abuse and Relationship Violence
Christine Werkle; Anne-Marie Wall.
Brunner/Routledge, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 15 "Bridging the Gap: Prevention of Adolescent Risk Behaviors and Development of Healthy Nonviolent Dating Relationships"
Risk Profiles of Adolescent Girls Who Were Victims of Dating Violence
Howard, Donna E.; Wang, Min Qi.
Adolescence, Vol. 38, No. 149, Spring 2003
Acceptability of Dating Violence among Late Adolescents: The Role of Sports Participation, Competitive Attitudes, and Selected Dynamics of Relationship Violence
Merten, Michael J.
Adolescence, Vol. 43, No. 169, March 22, 2008
Early Prevention of Adult Antisocial Behaviour
David P. Farrington; Jeremy W. Coid.
Cambridge University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "Adolescence: Partner Violence Is Not Confined to Adults; It Is a Feature of Adolescents' Earliest Intimate Experiences" begins on p. 120
Murder Is No Accident: Understanding and Preventing Youth Violence in America
Deborah Prothrow-Stith; Howard R. Spivak.
Jossey-Bass, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Dating Violence" begins on p. 134
Stalking and Psychosexual Obsession: Psychological Perspectives for Prevention, Policing, and Treatment
Julian Boon; Lorraine Sheridan.
Wiley, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "The Phenomenon of Stalking in Children and Adolescents"
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