National Rates of Adolescent Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Teen-Dating Violence
National rates of teen dating violence (TDV) are critical to understanding this public health problem. Nonetheless, data are available for limited types of victimization experiences and are generally lacking for perpetration behavior - especially with respect to sexual TDV. Additionally, we lack an understanding of how TDV experiences co-occur and overlap. To address these gaps, epidemiological rates of TDV are reported using Wave 4 data from the national Growing up with Media cohort (n=878). Surveyed in 2011, adolescents were 14-19 years old. Data suggest that almost half (49%) of adolescents who have been in a dating relationship have been victims of, and approximately half (46%) have perpetrated psychological TDV at least once in their lives. Lifetime rates of physical TDV victimization (21%) and non-defensive perpetration (i.e., behavior that was not expressed in defense of another person’s actions; 19%); and sexual TDV victimization (8%) and perpetration (3%) were lower. TDV rates were similar across different levels of family income, with little variation in rates noted by race or biological sex. Overlap in types of TDV and across perpetration and victimization was noted. For example, psychological TDV perpetration was significantly associated with psychological TDV victimization (OR=9.7, 95% CI: 5.7, 16.5), physical TDV victimization (OR=5.2, 95% CI: 2.8, 9.9), and sexual TDV victimization (OR=2.5, 95% CI: 1.2, 5.5).
In addition to providing national rates of TDV, findings highlight the dyadic nature of TDV: perpetration and victimization are often intertwined. Categorically assuming distinct “victims” and “perpetrators” may lead to ineffective prevention foci.
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