What Encourages Teen Dating Violence?

Studies find that what one sees at home can influence their behavior.

Posted: 03/29/2013 11:24 AM EDT
What Encourages Teen Dating Violence?

A recent series of studies sheds even more light on what influences teen dating violence. This is important to us given that past data suggests that African-American and Hispanic students report higher rates of this type of violence than their white counterparts.

The first study suggests that what one sees at home can influence how they behave with others — violence is normalized and repeated. Researchers from Iowa State used data from a 24-year-long study and found that psychological violence was more common for children to witness and experience first-hand. This violence had a lasting effect on children as they grew into adulthood and formed relationships with the opposite sex.

“If the parent is more aggressive toward the child, the child is more likely to be in relationships where they're being victimized or perpetrating violence against their partner a few years or even a decade later," Lead researcher Brenda Lohman said in a press release.

Lohman and her colleagues also found that this type of violence was perpetuated over and over again from one generation to the next one.

In another study, Lohman found that when it comes to violence, teens are not sure what constitutes violence, therefore they are less likely to report it. She also found that drug use, poor grades and having parents who were less involved were also risk factors for teens being in violent relationships.

These findings are similar to another study that came out earlier this year that looked solely at African-American youth.

Researchers from Michigan State University surveyed over 180 low-income Black female teens in Chicago and found that 85 percent of them had witnessed domestic violence in their home; 72 percent were physically abused themselves; 29 percent had been sexually abused; and that there was a strong relationship between teen violent relationships and experiencing these “severe” forms of abuse.

Do you know what abuse looks like? Abuse isn’t just about hitting, biting or smacking.

Here are 10 of the most common abusive behaviors by a partner: 

—Checking your cell phone or email without permission

—Constantly putting you down

—Extreme jealousy or insecurity

—Explosive temper

—Isolating you from family or friends

—Making false accusations

—Mood swings

—Physically hurting you in any way

—Possessiveness

—Telling you what to do

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(Photo: GettyImages)

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