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Relationship Processes in the Development of Teen Dating Violence

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $208,485)

Teen dating violence (TDV) is alarmingly common and exacts a substantial toll on public health. It exhibits substantial stability and may become deeply entrenched by adulthood. Given these difficulties, the prevention of TDV has become a concern of federal research agencies and noted investigators. We, in concert with several colleagues, offer the following set of observations, which frame the problem at hand and the research that we believe needs to be done: (1) Clearly we have only just begun to learn how to prevent TDV. Rigorous efficacy trials have been rare and have produced sometimes promising but sometimes mixed results. We need to do better. (2) TDV prevention would be enhanced by the identification of changeable risk factors that can become new intervention targets. (3) There are clear indications in the research literature that teen couples relationship dynamics are important factors in TDV. However, the field is just beginning to understand what those dynamics are. (4) We believe it highly likely that the discovery of additional relationship dynamics that undergird TDV will ultimately lead to enhanced interventions to prevent it. We propose to apply our team's expertise in intimate violence, couples observation, and development to the execution of an intensive observational longitudinal study of 200 New York City 14 to 18 year-old dating couples. The proposed research extends our recently NICHD funded investigation (1 R21 HD077345) and will be organized around four overarching questions: Question #1: Are maladaptive interaction patterns in teen dating relationships associated with TDV? Question #2: Do the same maladaptive interaction patterns that predict current TDV (from Question 1) predict future TDV? Question #3: Do the effects of maladaptive interaction patterns on TDV transcend the relationship in which they were observed? Question #4: Do risk factors (e.g., antisociality, family violence) identified in prior research explain TDV via their impact on maladaptive interaction patterns? Evidence for each of the processes we intend to study is either limited or nonexistent. Accordingly, the proposed research represents a major advance in the search for highly specific behavioral targets for enhanced preventive interventions. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 14, 2014