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Risk Factors in Pre- and Mid-Adolescence May Help Predict Dating Violence in Young Adulthood

NCJ Number
Date Published
National Institute of Justice
Findings and methodology are summarized for a NIJ-funded study that examined the relationship between pre-adolescent risk factors and dating violence in young adulthood, as well as other factors throughout mid-adolescence and young adulthood that may act as a “link” between these pre-adolescent risk factors and later dating violence.
The study found that young adults with a history of maltreatment and foster-care placement were at significant risk for perpetrating or being victims of dating violence. The study recruited 215 young adults (ages 18-22) who had previously been enrolled in the Fostering Healthy Futures program, which is a Positive Youth Development (PYD) program for maltreated youth. It also initially enrolled all 9- to 11-year-olds placed in out-of-home care within the previous year in the Denver (Colorado) metro area. Researchers obtained information on baseline pre-adolescent risk factors from child welfare records, court records, and interviews with children and their caregivers. The youth were then re-interviewed throughout mid-adolescence (1.5 years after enrollment and then 2.5-3.5 years later). They were interviewed again in young adulthood (9.4 years after enrollment). The findings indicated that the majority of participants who were maltreated as adolescents had perpetrated or been victimized by dating violence in the past year, with the most common form of dating violence being emotional or verbal abuse; the least common abuse was sexual violence. This finding was consistent with previous research. Generally, pre-adolescent risk factors did not predict dating violence in young adulthood. 1 figure
Date Created: November 20, 2018