One important goal of research on teen dating violence is to understand which youth are more vulnerable to experiencing violence in their relationships.Identifying youth at risk for violence increases the likelihood of early intervention and prevention.Researchers seek to identify the risk factors indicating an increased likelihood for dating violence and the protective factors that buffer against dating violence.
Multiple risk factors and protective factors may be at play within a relationship.Researchers have begun to focus on identifying which risk factors and protective factors most strongly relate to teen dating violence.In an NIJ-funded study of 5,647 teens (51.8 percent female, 74.6 percent Caucasian) from 10 middle schools and high schools (representing grades 7 to 12) throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, researchers identified several factors related to increased risk for dating violence.The researchers focused especially on cyber abuse but found that the following factors related to multiple forms of abuse: Another NIJ-funded study examined multiple risk factors among 223 at-risk, low-income teens in central Virginia.The study first examined potential risk factors that each partner could bring to a relationship.
These factors could be grouped into four broad categories: When examined together, risk factors that could be changed (e.g., having delinquent peers) related more strongly to dating violence than risk factors that could not be changed (e.g., exposure to maltreatment in childhood).
The study also examined certain relationship-specific factors that might be associated with increased violence within the relationship: An NIJ-funded longitudinal study of 1,162 students in the Midwest examined factors that led teens to engage in bullying, sexual harassment and dating violence while in middle and high school.
The researchers found that youths who bullied other students while in middle school were more likely to engage in more serious forms of interpersonal aggression connected with dating and romantic relationships as they grew older.
But the connection between bullying others in middle school and perpetrating teen dating violence in high school was not direct.
Instead, bullying behavior in middle school predicted bullying behavior in high school, which, in turn, was linked to perpetrating teen dating violence.
In middle school, aggression toward a sibling was a predictor of bullying behavior for both girls and boys.