Dating Violence and Injury Among Youth Exposed to Violence.Pediatrics. 2016 Feb; 137(2):e20152627.Ped
To assess gender differences in the proportion of adolescents reporting teen dating violence (TDV) and the frequency of TDV at multiple age points across adolescence in a high-risk sample of youth with previous exposure to violence.
A cross-sectional, high-risk sample of boys and girls (n = 1149) ages 11 to 17 years completed surveys assessing TDV and self-defense. Indices of TDV included perpetration and victimization scales of controlling behaviors, psychological TDV, physical TDV, sexual TDV, fear/intimidation, and injury.
More girls reported perpetrating psychological and physical TDV, whereas twice as many boys reported sexual TDV perpetration. More girls reported fear/intimidation victimization than boys. When comparing the frequency of TDV across adolescence, boys reported more sexual TDV victimization at younger ages, and girls demonstrated a trend toward more victimization at older ages. Likewise, younger boys reported more fear/intimidation and injury perpetration and injury victimization than younger girls. However, by age 17, girls reported more injury perpetration than boys, and reports of injury victimization and use of self-defense did not differ. Notably, despite potential parity in injury, girls consistently reported more fear/intimidation victimization associated with TDV.
Contrary to data suggesting that girls experience far more sexual TDV and injury, these data suggest that at specific times during adolescence, boys among high-risk populations may be equally at risk for victimization. However, the psychological consequences (fear) are greater for girls. These findings suggest a need to tailor strategies to prevent TDV based on both age- and gender-specific characteristics in high-risk populations.