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A Longitudinal Examination of Teen Dating Violence From Adolescence to Young Adulthood

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2018
11 pages

After identifying gaps in the research literature on teen dating violence (TDV), this study addressed these gaps by examining the "Dating it Safe" dataset, which is a NIJ-funded, 6-year longitudinal study of TDV that included 1,042 ethnically and socioeconomically diverse adolescents who began participation in this study at an average age of 15 years old.


TDV research to-date has lacked a comprehensive, theoretically guided focus on ecological factors that may increase or decrease the risk for mental and behavioral health outcomes resulting from TDV victimization. Longitudinal research or research on protective factors for developing these health problems is lacking. In addition, research has rarely examined whether gender, age, and ethnicity/race impact the associations between the onset and stability of TDV, risk and protective factors for TDV, and associations between TDV and health outcomes. A key strength of "Dating it Safe" was the inclusion of comprehensive, valid, and reliable self-report measures. This included the most comprehensive measure of TDV available, The Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationship Inventory (CADRI), along with various mental and behavioral health indicators were used in the study. The findings have a variety of implications for criminal justice policy and practice in the United States. The researchers believe that they provide policymakers and practitioners with up-to-date and important information relevant to the development and refinement of TDV intervention and prevention programs. First, the findings indicate that TDV primary prevention programs should begin in early adolescence, before the onset of TDV. Second, findings suggest that without intervention, TDV perpetration will remain stable from adolescence into young adulthood. Intervention should occur throughout this developmental transition. Third, the findings indicate that certain risk factors for TDV perpetration may be more important than others for targeting by intervention and prevention programs; for example, time spent targeting the acceptability of violence beliefs may be better spent targeting conflict-resolution skills and focusing on adolescents with a history of family violence. 13 references

Date Published: August 1, 2018