Teen Dating Violence

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This research proposal is being presented to examine if adolescents are most at risk for abusing and assaulting their dating partners because there is a direct or an intermediary association from exposure to dysfunctional behavior at home, at school, or in their community. These influences not only affect how youths behave, but also what they believe about acceptable forms of behavior in their relationships. Dating violence is defined by the United States Department of Justice as: “the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship”(Available On Line). This also includes dating between same sex couples, although most statistics have been gathered from heterosexual couples. This proposed study will make use of longitudinal research, gathering data from 500 male and female subjects between the ages of 6 and 12, once a year over the next six years. A questionnaire will be administered at selected elementary, middle and high schools in the Denver metropolitan area that will allow the subjects to self report. Information regarding dysfunctional parenting practices, (such as abuse, neglect, parental conflicts, and violence,) social conflicts in school and conflicts with in the community will be measured as independent variables. Any responsibility for emotional and physical abuse in dating and delinquency will all be measured at appropriate ages as dependent variables. Three independent variables are involved and multivariate analysis will be implemented in data analysis.

Keywords: Dating violence, Domestic violence, Child abuse, Adolescents, Sexual assault, Risk factors

As a social worker and the parent of three wonderful adult children, I ask myself what can be done to protect today’s adolescents from the effects of dating violence. It is my belief that romantic attachments begin as an adolescent and unfortunately, many of these relationships are beginning with dating violence. Data has been collected to indicate that violence affects many of our teenagers; this is a complex problem which involves the socioeconomic, cultural, racial and ethnic aspects of an adolescent’s life. High school students report the onset of dating at about 12 years of age, with approximately half of students reporting involvement with a partner at the time of assessment (Avery-Leaf et al, 1997). Dating at what many consider to be an early age does not seem to be an urban phenomenon: a study of nearly 2000 8th and 9th graders (mean age 13.9 years) from rural North Carolina reported that 72% of students indicated that they had dated previously (Foshee et al., 1998). The behaviors of adolescents in regards to dating violence have only recently been investigated. Statistical studies vary considerably by socioeconomic, cultural, racial and ethnic characteristics. Across all studies, females reported higher rates of aggression than males. However, females also report receiving more injuries (Foshee et al, 2004). It is reported by Dr. Foshee and her colleagues (2004) that psychological threats, stalking/monitoring, insults, and manipulation occurs with some frequency, with manipulation occurring most often. Females reported significantly more psychological victimization than males, though the amount of perpetration of these behaviors for males and females was similar. Adolescents reporting violence varies from 21% in rural areas (Foshee et al, 2004), and up to 45% in urban (inner city) areas (Weisz and Black, 2001). Gender is an important issue in understanding the occurrence of teen dating violence in the research. More female adolescents report using physical aggression against a dating partner than do males (Avery-Leaf, et al, 1997). It is suggested males may report their aggressive behavior less as a form of denial while females may report their aggressive behavior more because of their readiness to...
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