Violence linked to online dating

The 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey found approximately 10% of high school students reported physical victimization and 10% reported sexual victimization from a dating partner in the 12 months* before they were surveyed. All too often these examples suggest that violence in a relationship is normal, but violence is never acceptable.

Teenagers in physically or psychologically aggressive dating relationships are more than twice as likely to repeat such damaging relationships as adults and report increased substance use and suicidal feelings years later, compared with teens with healthy dating experiences, reports a new Cornell study.

However, these behaviors can become abusive and develop into more serious forms of violence.

Teen dating violence [PDF 187KB] is defined as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: Findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by experiences in their relationships.

About 20 percent of teen respondents reported psychological violence only, 9 percent reported physical and psychological violence, and 2 percent reported physical violence alone.

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.

The research was conducted through the U-M School of Public Health Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education.

Technology-delivered dating aggression is exhibited in ways such as trying to control a partner's behavior, tracking his or her activities and location, delivering threats, spreading rumors or sharing explicit images of the partner without permission.

"This study shows that TDA is related to physical dating aggression and may be a precursor to or a symptom of serious physical violence among dating partners.

Not everyone who committed TDA also perpetrated physical violence, but nearly everyone who perpetrated physical violence also committed TDA.

Epstein-Ngo said more research is needed to determine if technology makes it easier to commit these acts of digital dating aggression or if those who do so are just more prone to these behaviors.

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