Adolescent dating violence victimization and psychological well being

Forms of victimization include (but are not limited to) bullying or peer victimization, physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, robbery, and assault.Some of these forms of victimization are commonly associated with certain populations, but they can happen to others as well.

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According to the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, approximately 10 percent of adolescents nationwide reported being the victim of physical violence at the hands of a romantic partner during the previous year.[1] The rate of psychological victimization is even higher: Between two and three in 10 reported being verbally or psychologically abused in the previous year, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.[2] As for perpetration rates, there are currently no nationwide estimates for who does the abusing, and state estimates vary significantly.

In South Carolina, for example, nearly 8 percent of adolescents reported being physically violent to a romantic partner.

Youth completed self-report measures of victimization in dating relationships, psychological functioning, and perceived familial and peer social support.

Results indicated that 37% reported physical dating violence and 62% reported emotional abuse in dating relationships.

Victimization in dating relationships was examined among 681 African American and Caucasian adolescents.

Specifically, perceived social support was evaluated as a moderator between (a) physical dating violence victimization and anxiety/depression and (b) emotional abuse in dating relationships and anxiety/depression.Most of the practitioners in attendance — representing national organizations, schools and victim service community-based agencies — said that they primarily see female victims, and when they discuss teen dating violence with students, they hear that boys are the primary perpetrators. Because teen dating violence has only recently been recognized as a significant public health problem, the complex nature of this phenomenon is not fully understood.Although research on rates of perpetration and victimization exists, research that examines the problem from a longitudinal perspective and considers the dynamics of teen romantic relationships is lacking.Greater physical and emotional dating victimization was associated with more anxiety/depression.Moreover, social support moderated the association between victimization and psychological well-being, particularly for African American males.Findings highlight the powerful influence of perceived social support among adolescent targets of physical violence and emotional abuse in dating relationships.