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August 28, 2017Teen dating violence is a critical public concern and a potential precursor to intimate partner violence in adulthood.

To better understand this progression, NIJ funded researchers at Bowling Green State University to collect data from approximately 1,000 young adults (ages 25-28) who previously participated in the Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study (TARS)[1] when they were in seventh, ninth, or 11th grade.

This may be due to the accumulation of violent relationship experiences.

Peggy Giordano “Understanding Teen Dating Violence.”) The researchers also examined the frequency of relationship violence incidents across the waves of data.

Overall, those who experienced relationship violence in adolescence reported more episodes of relationship violence.

The most recent incident of relationship abuse produced the strongest influence on depressive symptoms.

The analyses of this unique longitudinal sample of adolescents and young adults provide several insights for policy and practice.

The researchers examined perpetration and victimization patterns of relationship abuse from adolescence to young adulthood.

Because this study has taken place in several “waves” over time, the researchers have been able to track continuity of and changes in relationships.[2]By the end of young adulthood (around ages 25-28), a majority (56 percent) reported perpetrating or being a victim of some form of relationship abuse.

Nearly 1 in 5 felt unwanted sexual pressures at some point within their romantic relationship.

Both perpetration and victimization peak around age 20 and then gradually decline through age 28.

Communication style in those arguments also mattered.

When couples used negative forms of communication during arguments (i.e., “fought dirty”), it amplified the risk of violence.

In adolescents, the age curve for relationship abuse showed similar rates for both males and females, but young adult females reported a significantly higher rate of perpetration than males (see Figure 1).

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