49% of Teens have Experienced Abuse in Dating

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When we think of abusive relationships, we often think of adults with dysfunctional, toxic partners. However, abusive relationships among dating teens is on the rise. According to a recent study revealed at the most recent meeting of the American Psychological Association, an overwhelming 49% of teens have experienced some form of abuse in their romantic relationships.

According to an article in DatingAdvice.com, Based on 2011 and 2012 data from a Growing Up with Media survey of 1,058 teens between the ages of 14 and 20, researchers concluded that almost half of adolescents who have dated someone have been victims of violence at least once in their lives, and astoundingly, 46 percent have been the perpetrator of violence.

Abusive relationships can take on many forms, but most often when we think of abuse, we think of physical or sexual abuse. However, some types of abuse are emotional or psychological, and therefore harder to identify or understand. Such is the case with many abusive teen relationships. Roughly 21% of teen relationships in the study were found to involve sexual or physical abuse. As is more often the case, the majority of abusive relationships tend to be emotional, especially with use of digital technology to manipulate a romantic relationship.

Emotional abuse seems to account for a large majority of the study’s results as it can come in various forms ranging from verbal name-calling to psychological manipulation. This type of abuse happens often via texting and digital means, as well as in person.

Another surprising result noted in the study was that the overall rates of teen dating violence are similar for both boys and girls. Twenty-nine percent of girls and 24% of boys admitted to playing the role of both victim and abuser in their relationships. Researchers discovered there was a lot of overlap in those who had been abused and those who were victim to it.

Researchers at the American Psychological Association said that violence should be studied more specifically, instead of categorizing those in relationships as either “victims” or “abusers,” as there is more of a gray line. This lack of understanding of the whole picture can lead to ineffective prevention of violent relationships.

Researchers acknowledged that young people who experience abusive relationships are more apt to enter into adulthood with emotional challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse issues. Almost a quarter of women who reported experiencing partner violence as adults had also experienced some type of abuse when they were young.