Using secondary data analysis of longitudinal data from seven cohorts of urban, early adolescents, this study's objective was to gain knowledge of dating aggression (DA) during early adolescence to guide efforts at early identification and the development of targeted prevention and intervention efforts.
The study's focus on DA during early adolescence stemmed from the recognition that this is a unique developmental period with significant changes occurring in adolescents' lives, including the initiation of dating relationships. This is a critical period for teaching youth about healthy relationships, which may reduce aggressive interactions with peers, such as DA. The longitudinal results showed an increasing trajectory of victimization and perpetration, particularly for girls, across middle school. Prevention and intervention programs that do not start until after middle school may miss a critical period. Early programming may result in a reduction in the perpetration of DA. This secondary analysis was of longitudinal data collected by the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development at Virginia Commonwealth University. This was a 5-year project that involved extensive data collection on youth violence and associated risk factors and mental health correlates. This was part of a community-level evaluation of a positive youth development program. The project was conducted in three communities in Richmond, VA. The communities represented attendance zones for three middle schools. Forty percent of the cross-sectional sample reported perpetrating at least one act of DA within the past 3 months, with nearly half reporting experiencing at least one act of DA victimization in the same time frame. The rates of perpetration and victimization recorded are higher than rates reported in other early adolescent samples and may be specific to the economically disadvantaged urban population of the dataset. 2 figures, 18 references, and 7 scholarly products produced or in process
Report (Grant Sponsored)
Date Published: October 1, 2016