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Teen Dating Violence: How Peers Can Affect Risk & Protective Factors

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2014
24 pages
Publication Series
This Research in Brief looks at how peers, and the contexts in which peers interact, can contribute to teens' risk for and protection from dating violence. The authors' review of NIJ-funded research and the broader literature on adolescent development and romantic relationships reveals that peer violence and dating violence tend to co-occur; that youth in risky, antisocial environments are at significant risk for teen dating violence; that peers play a role in teens' help-seeking; and that school-based programs, particularly those which begin in middle school, are one of the most effective teen dating violence interventions.
This Research in Brief looks at teen dating violence research from the perspective of peers in the context of which peer interactions can contribute to the risk for and protection against dating violence. Although the focus is primarily on findings from National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded research, the authors also draw upon broader literature on adolescent development and romantic relationships to show ways that teens shape each other's experiences across the spectrum of entering into and leaving violent romantic relationships. Recognizing the large number of youth who experience dating violence, policymakers at the federal and state levels have worked to raise awareness of dating violence, prevent violence from occurring, and offer more protection and services to victims. In response to this increased focus on teen dating violence, since 2008 NIJ has provided close to $15 million in funding for basic, applied, and policy-level research on dating violence. These projects have led to increased knowledge about risk and protective factors and psychosocial health behaviors associated with teen dating violence, and to the development and evaluation of dating violence prevention programs targeting diverse samples of youth. Research has also examined adolescents' knowledge of and barriers to using protection orders against violent partners.

Date Published: November 1, 2014