Introduction: In order to prevent youth and young adult partner abuse, it is necessary to have a better understanding of dating relationship dynamics as the context for potential abusive interactions. Methods: Youth and young adults (ages 10-18 at baseline) were surveyed along with a matched parent/caregiver. Data, including parent and youth responses (n = 437 youth/parent dyads), are drawn from the nationally representative Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence (STRiV). Results: Applying latent class analytic techniques with seven different positive and problematic descriptors of dating relationships, this study found four classes of relationship dynamics representing healthy, unhealthy, intense, and disengaged relationships. The intense relationship dynamic class exhibits the strongest associations with reports of any youth and young adult partner abuse, as well as distinctly with the subtypes of psychological, physical, and sexual victimization and perpetration. Conclusions: Results demonstrate the importance of clinicians, parents and other responsible adults attending to an array of youth and young adult dating relationship dynamics rather than single indicators, to assess youth and young adult risk for involvement in abusive relationships.
Date Published: January 1, 2019