More Than a Third of Teens Have Been Abused in Their Dating Relationships

C. Price
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Could teen dating violence be on the rise? New research suggests it could be.

One in three teenagers report having experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse at the hands of their romantic partner, according to data compiled from a nationwide survey.

Almost of quarter of guys and a third of girls indicated they themselves have been both an abuser and a victim at some point in their past with a partner.

The results are part of a study in progress that was partially revealed at a July symposium in Hawaii for the American Psychological Association.

As the study is still under review, lead author Michele Ybarra, of the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, explained she could not yet fully present the findings.

These results do mark a serious deviation from earlier findings where males have been found to disproportionately report as abusers.


“One in three teens report having experienced

physical, emotional or sexual abuse.”

Earlier research has suggested male aggressors outnumbered females by nearly 20 to one.

However, the findings are supported by other recent research, including data on dating violence gathered at Northeastern University-Boston by researcher Carlos Cuevas.

Cuevas said when girls abuse, “It tends to be low-level behaviors, light hitting, name calling, things like that.”

For more serious abuse cases, males tend to compromise a higher number of abusers.

An additional study being conducted by Ybarra found partners who admitted victimizing a boyfriend or girlfriend were also found to frequently have a history of bullying during junior high years.

That research involved tracking 625 young people from middle school to young adulthood. It found those who verbally bullied other students were seven times more likely to physically abuse a partner later on.

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