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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Adolescent Dating Violence Fuels Re-victimization in Adulthood

People who experience dating violence as adolescents are more likely to report physical intimate-partner violence as adults, demonstrating that early dating experiences contribute to “a cycle of interpersonal violence through adulthood,” according to a new study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health  researcher.

The study, in the Journal of Adolescent Health, analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of US high school and middle school students, ages 12 to 17, who were followed into adulthood, 5 and 12 years later. Compared to people who were not victimized in adolescence, those who experienced teen dating violence were more likely to report physical intimate-partner violence in those later years.

The authors, including Dr. Emily Rothman, associate professor of community health sciences at BU, said more research is needed to understand “why and how these trajectories occur.” Among the possible factors they mention are increased risks of depression and substance use.

The study, which controlled for a variety of risk factors, demonstrates that adolescent dating violence (ADV) “is uniquely implicated in a cycle of interpersonal violence from adolescence to adulthood, even when differences between victims and non-victims are carefully accounted for,” the authors said.

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