Male and female adolescents are both at risk of experiencing dating violence, whether as aggressors, victims or both, according to recent study findings published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.
“It’s important to think about both genders when trying to identify teen dating violence, especially when there are other conditions we may be trying to assess in the health care setting,” Vijay Singh, MD, MPH, MS, of the departments of emergency medicine and family medicine at the University of Michigan, said in a press release. “These data remind us that teen relationships are not immune to violence and should encourage providers to ask adolescent patients about this important issue. In addition, this could help us understand whom to target for screening and referral to, or development of, programs that could help.”
Singh and colleagues evaluated 4,089 adolescents aged 14 to 20 years seeking emergency care to determine rates of dating violence, dating victimization and dating aggression among them.
Overall, more than 15% of participants reported dating violence within the last year, including 18.4% of females and 12.5% of males. Male participants reported dating victimization (11.7%) more often than females (10.6%). However, female participants were more likely to report dating aggression (14.6%) vs. males (4.9%).
Dating aggression only was most common in females (41.7%) followed by both dating aggression and victimization (32.6%) and victimization only (19.4%). Victimization only was most commonly reported by males (60.9%) followed by both aggression and victimization (31.6%) and aggression only (6.5%). For both males and females any dating violence was positively associated with black race, alcohol misuse, illicit drug use and depression. Public assistance, grades D and below and any past-year ED visit for intentional injury were also positively associated with any dating violence among females.
“This study’s findings have important clinical implications,” the researchers wrote. “Among a sample of female and male youths screened in an ED the prevalence of past-year dating violence was nearly 1 of every 6 adolescents. Findings from this study highlight the magnitude of dating violence among youths seeking ED services and suggest an unmet need for feasible methods for dating violence screening in busy clinical settings, as well as evidence-based interventions that can be implemented among youths seeking ED care.”
Disclosure: The study was funded in part by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse and the University of Michigan Injury Center. The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.