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Dating Violence in Teen Years Can Have Lasting Impact
Date:12/10/2012

leagues looked at data that had been collected on nearly 5,700 heterosexual adolescents who had been in a dating or sexual relationship in the past year. The surveys, which were part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, included 52 middle schools and 80 high schools across the United States representing both urban and rural areas.

In the first round of surveys, interviewers asked the teens about psychological and physical violence. Interviewers also assessed whether the participants had depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem or antisocial behavior; had engaged in risky sexual behavior such as not using a condom; tried to control their weight through means such as vomiting or diet pills; or engaged in heavy drinking, cigarette smoking or illegal drug use.

Five years later, interviewers asked participants the same questions, when they were between the ages of 18 and 25, but instead of asking about both psychological and physical violence, they inquired about adult intimate partner violence, which is based only on physical violence.

Exner-Cortens and her colleagues found that psychological violence on its own could increase the likelihood of several unhealthy behaviors for girls and boys.

Girls were 44 percent more likely to drink heavily and 87 percent more likely to have partner violence as young adults, whereas boys were more likely to have antisocial behavior, 90 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts, 34 percent more likely to use marijuana and more than twice as likely to experience partner violence as young adults.

The researchers found, however, that psychological and physical violence together seemed to have more long-term effects on girls than boys. Although girls who were victims of this type of teen dating violence were more likely to have symptoms of depression, twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts, 50 percent more likely to smoke and about three times as likely to have partner
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