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Do Teens and Adults Think of Teen Dating Violence in Similar Ways?

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2016
2 pages
This article reports on the methodology and findings of research on a comparison of youth and adult perspectives of teen dating relationships.
Overall, the study found tht adults and youth often agree on what defines teen dating relationships. Adults who work with youth were surprised at how much agreement there was in the final concept model. After viewing the range of healthy and unhealthy aspects of teen dating relationships, adults noted that a focus in practice has been on preventing teen dating violence instead of supporting teens in achieving healthy relationships. The study included three groups: teens (14-18 years old), young adults (19-22 years old), and adults who work with youth. Participants generated just over 600 ideas related to teen romantic relationships. The research team narrowed these ideas into a set of 100 unique statements. Participants then sorted the statements into piles they felt were related. After the sorting process was completed, the researchers used a statistical method called multidimensional scaling to place the items on a map, with items sorted together most often appearing near each other. The researchers used the map to group the items into nine conceptually cohesive clusters: positive communications and connection, early stages of a relationship, signs of commitment, social concerns and consequences, insecurities, intense focus on the relationship, warning signs, dependency, and abuse. The concept maps for teens, young adults, and professional adults were similar, indicating a strong consensus among the three groups. Researchers developed 10 recommendations for teen dating violence research and intervention. They are in an executive summary of the study report that is accessible through this web page.

Date Published: July 1, 2016