Relationship Dynamics and their Contribution to Adolescent Relationships and Dating Violence
This webinar will provide newly emerging information from two NIJ-funded longitudinal studies regarding important relationship dynamic contexts in dating violence among youth.
MARY JO GIOVACCHINI: Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to today's webinar Relationship Dynamics and their Contribution to Adolescent Relationships and Dating Violence hosted by the National Institute of Justice. At this time, I'd like to hand it off to Carrie Mulford of NIJ.
CARRIE MULFORD: Hi, I'm Carrie Mulford from NIJ. And I'm a Social Science Analyst here. And I've been leading up our teen dating violence work for a little over a decade since we started doing this work and funding this work. I want to pass along the welcome from our Acting Director, Howard Spivak who was really hoping to give a welcome himself, but is on the train and we were concerned about his--the ability for you all to hear him. He wanted to pass along both his apologies for the technological difficulties and organizational difficulties that we had the last time around. And also to emphasize NIJ's commitment to this issue, I think the law--the history of funding that we have on this topic is a clear indication of our dedication, but he wanted to make sure that you all understood that we continue to be very dedicated to funding research on dating violence. I'm just happy you could all join us today.
This is a webinar series that we've been doing for about four years as a way of highlighting Teen Dating Violence Research as part of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month which was last month, the original date of our webinar. And we'd like to both highlight the findings of the research and also talk about--have a practitioner talk about how those signs can be used in practice. And we hope to have plenty of time at the end of the discussion today to have some question and answer back and forth with the professors. And with that, I'm going turn it over to Yunsoo Park who's going to introduce our speakers.
YUNSOO PARK: Hi, everyone. My name is Yunsoo Park and I'm a Visiting Fellow at NIJ. I'm going to go ahead and introduce our presenters today.
Our first set of presenters today are doctors Michael Lorber and Amy Smith Slep. Dr. Lorber is a Research Scientist, Adjunct Professor, and Director of Developmental Research at the Family Translational Research Group in the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry. And Dr. Smith Slep is a professor and Lab Director at the same group and institution. They're going to be discussing the role of negative interaction patterns in dating relationships and violence over time in adolescent dating couples.
Our next set of presenters will be doctors Megan Bair-Merritt and Ty Ridenour. Dr. Bair-Merritt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. And Dr. Ty Ridenour is a Developmental Behavioral Epidemiologist in the Behavior and Urban Health Program at RTI International. And today, they're going to present findings about how daily changes in the relational factors like feelings of jealousy, intimacy, and instrumental supports are associated with dating violence victimization and perpetration in high-risk adolescent females.
And today's last presenter is Kelly Miller who is the Executive Director of the Idaho Coalition against Sexual and Domestic Violence and oversee the social change and primary prevention strategies on gender violence with a focus on adolescent relationship abuse and sexual assault. She's going to provide an overview of the possible impact of the presented research on primary prevention strategy on adolescent relationship abuse and how these studies can better--inform approaches across the socio-ecological level. And with that, I will turn that--turn it over to Dr. Lorber and Dr. Smith Slep.
DR. AMY SMITH SLEP: Hi. This is--this is Amy Slep. I'm going to start off our presentation today on relationship vulnerabilities and how those relate to teen dating violence. And this is work that Michael, and I, and our collaborator, Richard Heyman, and our group have been heading up and it's a study that's ongoing, so you're getting a kind of part way through update on the kinds of things that we're starting to find.
So, I'm sure everyone that is listening is familiar with teen dating violence. But the reasons we think it's really important to get a better, deeper understanding of what's going on in dating violence in teen couples is that even though people sometimes think that this is sort of developmentally not a big deal, that teens are kids and their aggression sort of doesn't count, the evidence does suggest that it is consequential. There’s significant psychological and health consequences. There is a lot of stability and of course aggression in relationships and victimization in relationships that can be traced to early teen dating relationships. Our thinking is that adolescence is the key developmental period where kids are learning what a romantic relationship and intimate relationship is. And so, there's a lot to suggest that in older couples that folks kind of sort themselves to find partners that have an interaction style that meshes with what they have come to expect in dating partners. And so, that means that in some ways, these early relationships are especially important to try to get off on a healthy, strong foot. And so, the implications for preventing relationship violence are really greatest if you're thinking about teen dating violence. Yet it's a slice of relationship violence that has until relatively recently, received a lot less attention than domestic violence among, you know, more stable, older couple.
In the area of teen dating violence, we've all focused as researchers a lot more on understanding individual risk factors. So, things that put teens at risk for either perpetrating, aggression, or being a victim of aggression, or both. One of the things that has received less attention in these young relationships or relationships among young people is kind of dyadic process or a couple level variable. And this is important because, of course, dating violence by definition is happening within a couple interaction. It can't happen without the couple interacting with each other. There has been relatively little direct observation of couples interacting with each other especially in challenging situations as part of the research on dating violence among younger teens, teens that are not yet of college age. And part of that is the challenge of conducting that sort of research.
So, we are focusing on trying to understand observable relational vulnerabilities for dating violence. So, are there interactional signatures that occur in teen's complex that are linked with a higher likelihood of escalating to some sort of aggression?
We're particularly interested in something that's known in the broader literature on aggression as towards this process. This is a dyadic process where the interaction, some of those researches done with moms and kids, some of it has been done with couples. But the people engaged in a conflict have a history of winning the conflict by escalating. And, of course, this process is one where each person is trying to win by kind of taking things up a notch until somebody decides it's worth it to quit and then they give in. And so, when that happens, they end up being able to turn off the other person's anger and the other person ends up sort of winning the whole argument, and so both people end up being rewarded in a way for that otherwise kind of risky conflict style.
Another interaction style that has been linked with aggression and in other kinds of relationships are when people get engaged in a power struggle and there's a demand-withdraw kind of dynamic where one person is pushing, pushing, pushing and the more that person pushes, the more the other person backs off and won't engage and won't do what the first partner is asking for. In that situation, the person who's demanding often keeps going to try to get a reaction from the person who's withdrawing and you can see how, again, that has potential to increase risk for aggression.
So, within--and that we're still in kind of the middle phase of conducting this research, we are bringing in couples where both partners are between the--well, at least, one partner is between the age of fourteen and eighteen years, and where they've been dating for at least three months because we want them to not be in the brand new stages of a relationship, but be in a place where they're starting to settle in to their style with each other. We want--we're looking for couples where they have at least some history of conflict and because of the observational coding that we do, they have to have the capacity to have an interaction in English, so that we can track what's going on. Our research lab is in New York City, so these are kids that we are recruiting in and around the city. And so far, we have a sample of a hundred and twelve couples. The average age is around 17. We have a good amount of diversity as you can see in that sample. They're about 50% Hispanic, but with a good mix of racial and ethnic diversity. And we also have diversity in sexual orientation in our sample. And with that, I am going to pass this to Michael.
DR. MICHAEL LORBER: Okay. That's looks like it worked. I am now the presenter. All right. Can we have the next slide there in advance for everybody?
DR. AMY SMITH SLEP: It looks good to me.
DR. MICHAEL LORBER: Perfect. Okay. So, we bring these couples into the laboratory and we have a three-hour session with them. And during that session, they fill out numerous questionnaires, both on aggression in the relationships as well as some risk factors and other things like demographics. But the main guts of the lab assessment is behavioral observation because what we're looking for are these objectively observable relation--you know, relational vulnerabilities. And so, what we do is we observe them for each couple for roughly an hour. We need to get a lot of observational data because the things that we're looking at primarily revolve around how kids handle conflicts. And so, we need to give the opportunity for conflicts to occur. And because of that, we put them through a variety of--a variety of tasks.
We start off with easy things and then they get progressively harder. And what--you know, a classic one that we use which has been used by research as well is we identify their top issues in their relationship with one another and ask them to work it out, try to work out those issues right then and there.
We also do some things that involve various kind of games that end up being challenging and a little stressful as well involving putting together a really difficult Lego model together with one hand behind their back each and there's a tangram task where people have to teach one another how to build a puzzle. I won't go into the details of all that. I'm going to focus more on the--on the behaviors that we're observing. And by the way, these pictures are not our actual participants.
What we're measuring questionnaire wise when, you know, what I'll--what we'll be focusing on today is we're measuring the--we're measuring physical aggression using Foshee’s, Safe Dates Scales. There are some example items there. They range from things that are pretty mild like pushing and grabbing to more severe kicking and choking and everything in between. And we ask about both perpetration and victimization. So, for each partner, we're getting their reports of what they say they have done to their partner and what their partner says they've done to them. So, we get two informants in each person.
As far as measures of the observational, you know, these observational measures of relationship processes, we are using a coding system, the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System to measure coercion related things as well as observer impressions questionnaire that each code fills out later. And then, a demand-withdraw code to get at those kind of--to get at the demand-withdraw processes that Amy described. So, I'll turn to those next.
So, to give you a flavor of what's being measured, this helps you to understand what we mean when we say coercion. And the reason why we think it's important to understand this at a--at a detailed level is because ultimately, when you're--when you're doing an intervention with a couple, this--the behavioral specificity is where the rubber hits the road. So, you need to, you know, we're trying to go beyond just saying, you know, just looking at how mean kids are to one another and their conflicts with one another as a predictor of dating violence. We're looking at specific things, things that might even proceed aggression itself. And so, these are--so, understanding specifically whether the things we're looking for is worthwhile, we think. And so, what coercion involves is this increased propensity to start conflicts. And once you're in them, to reciprocate your partner's negativity. So, when they do something mean, you respond meanly to them. And then--and then, things escalate and eventually somebody capitulates and gives in. And so, the couple ends up getting negatively reinforced. This is, you know, behavioral term for ending--for ending the conflict in a dysfunctional way. So, both partners are getting reinforced by escaping the conflict through this--through this--through these negative means. So, that gives you an idea of what we're looking at when we're looking at coercion. And also, that--and those were--that was from the observer impression's questionnaire.
The--we're also looking at the ratio of hostile to non-hostile behaviors using the RMICS code, the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System that I mentioned. In there, we're looking at the ratio of hostile behaviors like the ones you see there to non-hostile behaviors during conflict episodes with the idea that that is an expected output of coercion. So, the more that you are reinforced for using aversive behaviors, you know, hostile behaviors during conflict, the more they should happen relative to non-hostile ones during conflict.
The demand-withdraw pattern that Amy described, actually, that's what it gets called in the literature, but it's a little bit broader than that. It's actually demand and avoiding withdraw. So, these are, as Amy said, when one person's pushing for change, that person is thought to be in the less dominant position, less powerful. And the--and the person and the-and the other partner is doing--is either avoiding, or minimizing, or just frankly just shutting down and not giving--not ceding any space, not ceding into their partner's wishes. And so, that's a little bit more about what we--what we're observing with the demand-withdraw coding.
And so, just--we'll--just briefly go over just a couple of results. We don't have much time and we're only midway in the study. But basically, you know, what we found--what we're finding so far is that, you know, we--it supports our interpretation of teen dating violence being a dyadic phenomenon. Basically, first of all, 71% of the couples in this sample so far reported--at least one person reported that some physical aggression had happened. And when it happened, it was usually bilateral. It's usually both partners doing it. So, it supports the--this idea that dating violence is a dyadic phenomenon. And, of course, that makes it more important to understand what the dyadic dynamics are which is what we're doing.
As far as the, you know, the associations of what we were able to observe, these observed relational vulnerabilities and physical aggression in the couples and, you know, dating violence. Basically, everything is significant so far which is kind of interesting. And it predicts both the aggression--it predicts the aggression of both partners. Now, partner ones are mostly--are mostly females and partner twos are mostly males. Of course, we have some same sex couples in there, too. So, it's not a hundred percent that way. But by and large, partner one is typically--partners--if you read that, partner one to partner two is primarily female to male aggression and partner two to partner one is primarily male to female aggression. And so, what we see is that, you know, every measure that we have predicts physical--the physical aggression of both partners. And we see that when it comes to the-- so--and the subcomponents of those behavior patterns that I mentioned also predict. So, it's not only that the overall hostile to non-hostile balance during conflicts matters for example it is also that the hostile--just the rate of hostile behaviors all by themselves and the rate of non-hostile behaviors all by themselves are individually predictive of both partner's aggression similarly when it comes to demand and avoid, withdraw pattern. Demand a little bit more strongly seems to predict the--seems to be predicting aggression, but it's also because that avoiding and withdrawing also give you some prediction of physical aggression. And I'm--and in both partners.
So, I'm going to--I'm going to pass the ball back to Amy for discussion of our findings.
DR. AMY SMITH SLEP: Okay. So, our data so far do suggest that dating violence has a strong dyadic component that it's not merely individual risk and protective factors that contribute to risk for dating violence, but also aspects of the way the couple interacts with each other. As Michael said, we have evidence of, so far, of at least some preliminary suggestion that both coercive process and the demand, avoid, and withdraw types of behaviors are all linked with risk progression. And it suggests that there's importance not only in understanding kind of the topography of aggressive behavior, but the process of how conflict is handled in couples both when it escalates to aggression and when it doesn't. And it's important to note that these relational processes look like they confer risk both for the girls and the guys in our sample.
So, the kinds of implications, we don't want to get too ahead of ourselves since we're in the middle of the study still, but the kinds of things that we're thinking about in terms of potential implications from our study stem from the focus on the importance of dyadic process. So, most of our current, dating violence prevention efforts are aimed appropriately at helping teens address the risk and protective factors that they bring in to the relationships that they're about to have. So, a lot of our current protect--our current factor or prevention programs that are out there that have evidence behind them focus on things like attitudes about aggression, teaching people about help-seeking, teaching people what to do if they find themselves in an aggressive relationship, giving people some degree of conflict management skills. We think it could be that we'll be able to further enhance the impact of those kinds of prevention efforts if we can also help kids learn about dyadic interaction pattern. And if we can figure out from research like ours and like other people are doing. What the interaction patterns are that when you put two people together and they're having an argument, if it looks like this, it's at much higher risk to escalate to aggression. If it looks like that, it's not. And so, then, it's possible that we could teach folks in a more detailed and in some ways, more specific way about what functional ways of dealing with a conflict when they find themselves in one might be.
So, our study is ongoing. We're only about halfway through, a little more than halfway through. And so, we'll be collecting a lot more observational data and we're doing a lot more coding. So, we'll be able to layer in some other kinds of observed conflict behaviors and we also have a focus on how couples get out of conflicts. And so, we're hoping that we'll be able to do more with that.
We'll be following our couples out for a year after their initial visit into the lab, so we'll also be able to look and see how their conflict signature at the point that they join us for the study ends up impacting the course of their relationship over time.
So, ultimately, we're thinking not that these relational processes are going to supersede all the other kinds of risk and protective factors that we all know about and are interacting with in our prevention and outreach program. Just that these will potentially be one more pathway. So, it might be an additional leverage point. So, you can see here that we're seeing these as embedded within that larger context of other kinds of risk and protective factors.
And we just want to thank NIJ and the National Institutes of Health because they helped us with kicking off the project with conducting this research. And you can see the names of some of the people who are instrumental and that's working with these teens and getting them in and getting these data. And that is the summary of our study. So, I believe next is going to Megan.
DR. MEGAN BAIR-MERRITT: So, thanks to everybody who took time out of their day to be here, to listen to the presentations and also the NIJ for hosting us. And I think our research follows very nicely from Michael and from Amy's in that we similarly were interested in Relational Context and Teen Dating Violence Episodes.
So, it's probably not a surprise to this group how common teen dating violence is and depending if people are looking at physical violence or emotional abuse, rate seem to be at about 10% to 25% of adolescents report some form of abuse in their romantic relationships in the past year. And because of this, many people in the fields are working to prevent and work with young people who are in violent relationships and there has been evidence-based prevention programs and interventions that have been developed. But I think we probably, in these programs, don't focus enough on the complexities of the romantic relationship. And so, part of the goal of our study was to understand this relationship context better.
So, you know, it's true of every relationship, including those with violence, that they're sort--there can be the violence, but adults and adolescents alike also simultaneously report closeness, and trust, and commitment. And so, it's not sort of a monolithically negative relationship, but there are these more positive qualities as well. I think sometimes we discount adolescent relationships and talk about them as infatuations or they sort of come and go, but adolescents really are very highly invested in their main partner and that affects kind of how they react to the violence. And so, within the context of thinking about sort of how to talk to adolescents about these relationships, how to develop prevention programs, we need to be thinking about adolescent development. And in particular, adolescents tend to be more likely than adults to kind of minimize disagreements. They haven't just had as much life experience about how to negotiate conflicts, how to sort of resolve feeling jealous or these sort of other emotions. And some evidence, particularly, there's been a fair amount of work in the field of sexually transmitted diseases and condom use, that adolescents, actually, when there's been what people call a rupture or something, an insult to the relationship, a big fight, concerns about a partner having another partner. Sometimes, adolescents actually try to pull that partner closer rather than separating. And so, these are all things that we felt like we needed to understand in terms of developing the intervention programs.
So, really, sort of our overarching goal is to try to get information in this study that would hopefully be helpful for advocates, people who are working on the ground with adolescents who are in relationships with violence and with the--sort of generally with the adults who support these adolescents.
I think one--note, within sort of the teen dating violence world, much of what's been done has been done on, kind of, upper middle class, predominantly white adolescents, and so there really is a paucity of literature. There's not diverse voice or perspective and there's the paucity of literature in particular for adolescents of color.
So, the questions that we were asking is actually sort of on a day-to-day basis. How does an adolescent's feelings of closeness, trust, commitment, or jealousy, and what we call provision of instrumental support. So, giving a gift, giving money, something like that. How does that relate to episodes of teen dating violence victimization. And in there, is there a window for intervention? So, we ask questions like, when an adolescent is reporting--when an adolescent experiences victimization on that day--on the day before how--is she reporting that she trust that person or does that trust perhaps dipped for a bit? Are there feelings of jealousy that kind of go way up that could project almost a day of--an incident of violence on the next day.
So, our objective in this study was to determine the associations between actual events of teen dating violence victimization and adolescents' reports about closeness, jealousy, commitment, and the--and trust in the provision of instrumental support on the day right before a violent event and the day of a violent event.
So, we have completed the study.
We recruited a cohort of young adolescent women from Baltimore. One of the things that was really important to us is that many of the studies that exist out there recruit either from--mostly from colleges or from schools and we felt like it was important to have a community--an approach where we were really sort of in the community. And so, we actually had a research van where we identified where adolescents tended to congregate and the research van went out at night and on weekends and recruited from community venues.
To be eligible for our study, you had to be a young woman between the ages of 16 and 19. You had to be English speaking, although, predominantly the large percentage of adolescents in Baltimore actually are English speaking, and a resident of Baltimore City, and you had to have disclosed teen dating violence in a current relationship. For this study we focus on male partners, but certainly, there's a need to look at violence within the same sex relationships.
Adolescents provided written informed consent and the whole actual consent procedure. We went through three institutional review board to--which is interesting in and of itself, but a discussion for perhaps another time.
So, when adolescents came and were eligible, and interested, and provided consent for the study, they did a pretty comprehensive baseline survey. An ACASI is a computer assisted survey. So, they actually for privacy listened in and the questions were read to them and then they input the data directly into a computer.
And then, during the course of the study which lasted four months, every night, the young women received a very nonspecific text. It just said, you know, go to your heart survey, and they could link on that button on their phone and it went to-- them to a website. Nobody could get into the website. You had to put in a unique passcode that only the young woman knew. And then, it went through a number of questions that ask both about if the young woman was with the same partner, if she had spent time with that partner about physical, emotional abuse, and threats, both that her partner had done to her and that she had done to her partner, and then also how she was feeling in terms of trust, commitment, closeness, jealousy, and whether or not there was any instrumental support that she had given to her partner that her partner had given to him. And so, every day, we have a sense of how she was feeling about her partner and whether or not there were any violent events.
So, these--to show the questions that the young woman were answering every night, so we asked in terms of closeness. How close do you feel toward him? So, the response options and they could just tap on their phones. So, the survey, we estimated took kind of two to three minutes a night, so they could respond very close, somewhat close, not close at all. How much do you trust him? Trust him a lot, trust him somewhat, do not trust him at all. How committed do you feel to him? Very committed to him, somewhat committed to him, or not committed to him at all. Do you feel jealous of any other girls he might be talking to or hanging out of--hanging out with? Or does he feel jealous of any other boys you might be talking to or hanging out with and they responded yes or no to those two questions.
In terms of this construct of instrumental support. We said, has he given you any money or gifts since this time yesterday? And have you given him any money or gifts since this time yesterday?
In terms of teen dating violence victimization, we asked, has he threatened to hit, punch, kick, or hurt, and that's supposed to be you, since this time yesterday? Has he pushed, shoved, grabbed, slapped, hit, or kicked you since this time yesterday? And has he called you fat, ugly, stupid, or some other insult since this time yesterday? These were based as well in the Safe Dates Scale.
And so, really, we were the dependent variable or outcome was on a day where there was a teen dating violence episode. Was there anything that happened the day before that predicted that teen dating violence episode and how did the young woman report feeling on that same day? So, this is just a visual way to think about that. So, we looked at the--each independent event and then looked at the prior day and we are doing analysis right now, so they're not part of this talk to see what happened the day following the violent event.
So, I am going to pass the ball over to Ty who has helped us tremendously with the analysis and he is going to present the analysis part. So, it should be passed over.
DR. TY RIDENOUR: So, in a moment we'll be--I will briefly describe the statistics that were used. It's good--just going to be a spot that we put up there and move on. Next, primarily going to be for researchers that are attending the webinar. However, it is important to understand in English what it is we're looking at and that's what this slide and the next one will be depicting.
If you look at the slides on the left side on your Participant A, these are graphs of the data that were reported from day zero to day 120, about her own behavior and her partner's behavior, that's listed under his behavior. And they depict either a type of teen dating violence occurring at the no incident, or bottom of those lines, or whether there were some form of perpetration that occurred in the form of name calling, threatening, or pushing, and hitting. And they're color coded as you can see down below.
In the lines, as they go up, they indicate each day when a type of teen violence had occurred. If you notice for the graphs there, for Participant A, from a--during about the first five days, both the girl and the boy in this couple exhibited teen dating violence. And then, there was a bit of a lull although she engaged in name calling, you can see with the red line. And then, another flurry of teen dating violence behaviors occurred from about days 15 to 25. Then, there was an extended period of no teen dating violence or very little of it from both of the members of the couple. And so, in this way, their behaviors are associated and we would quantify that in the same way as a correlation.
If you now move over to Participant B's couple, it's easier to see that the male's and female's teen dating violence here are also correlated. And so, they're correlated across the two couples, but you can also see that they both--the two couples rather differ in terms of how frequently teen dating violence occurs and the types of behaviors that they engage in. And so, the results that we'll be showing are the strengths of associations between the emotional and behavioral characteristics and his tendency to engage in teen dating violence or his exhibiting teen dating violence as well as whether they differ between couples or among the couples that are in the sample.
In this graph, we're looking at the same data, but in a slightly different way. And here are the same two couples, but now the graphs show counts of the types of teen dating violence that each of the member--members in a couple exhibited. So, in the last slide, the lines sometimes overlaps making it hard to see what types of behaviors were occurring on a particular day. And here we can get a sense for the amount of teen dating violence that occurred. And here again you can see there are some similarities in that the blue and red lines tend to follow each other. But in couple A, her types of perpetuations of teen dating violence tend to be greater in volume than his, whereas in couple B, his teen dating violence behaviors tend to be greater in terms of the number of types. And so, here again it just illustrates the notion that we can take some results and generalize them across couples, but there also are differences between the couples and that's what we aim to quantify in the analysis.
So, as I mentioned, this slide is primarily for researchers or statisticians. The approach--general approach that we're taking is hierarchal in your modeling. I'm not going to go into great detail here. I'm going to trust those who are familiar with it, know it, and hopefully, we can pull out of the results what is meaningful for everyone. One thing that I do want to point out is that the error term at the end includes auto-correlation, and so that's pulled out of the results. For a statistician, that's an important point. The bottom line here is that the results that we'll be reporting can be understood, like, correlations or regression coefficients, but they're pertaining to correlations within couples over time as opposed to across the whole sample.
And some of the reasons that we do this, this is entirely for statisticians and researchers is it controls for autocorrelation as I mentioned, it's free from potential biases that occur with alternative analytic approaches. It's tailored for conservative statistical testing and the estimates that we get, it also handles missing data well, and it's a powerful analytic technique for comparing subgroups which down the road we will be doing, trying to look for subtypes of couples and understand their differences better. And I'm going to pass this over now to--back to Megan to go over the first part of the results.
DR. MEGAN BAIR-MERRITT: Great. Thanks, Ty. So we recruited a hundred and fifty-eight young women. The average age in years was 18.1, 92% of the young women who participated in the study identified as being African-American and 60--69% of them when we asked about their mother's education told us that they're mothers had--were either high school graduates or less.
During those baseline interviews where young women responded on the computer, we asked them about the past month of violence with their partner, including victimization and perpetration. You will see that, kind of, all of the things we asked about were fairly common, including psychological abuse, being called fat, ugly, stupid. Being threatened. There was about a quarter of them reported recent physical violence including about 10%, just a little under [INDISTINCT] punched, choked, bit, or kicked, been punched, choked, bitten, or kicked, or had done that to their partners. And particularly with regards to themselves had been made to feel afraid.
So we are going back and forth a bit, but I'm going to pass the ball back to Ty to tell you a little bit about the analysis where we looked at predictors of next day and same day violence.
DR. TY RIDENOUR: Got it. Thank you, Megan. We'll start in the column that's labeled previous day. It's probably--it would've been better to label this next day. I apologize about that, but the numbers here present how strongly each of the listed emotional and behavioral characteristics on one day predict the males' teen dating violence on the next day. So feeling close and trusting are statistically associated with the boys' dating violence the next day with trusting a slightly better predictor as you can see by comparing the numbers there.
And over in the same day column, these are associations between those emotional and behavioral characteristics and the males' teen dating violence that are occurring on the same day. The black coefficients that are shown indicate that there is not a significant variation in those numbers or in those relations between the variables among the couples or across the couples. If there's a green coefficient, it indicates that couples vary significantly in that association. So for example, on the same day, that closeness coefficient of 0.74 is statistically significant and it shows that by the three stars, but that number generalizes across all couples. That association is consistent for the most part across all of them. When we go down to trust in the next row, that's the average number, but it differs significantly among the couples and so there's a variability there and maybe a difference between couples that needs to be better understood.
Some of the takeaways from these results is that previous-day predictors of the males' violence are most strongly--are most strongly predicted by her level of jealousy, by her own perpetration of dating violence, and then by her level of trust, which is kind of interesting and unexpected that the same--that a higher level of trust would be a predictor of violence the next day.
When we go over to the same day column, there are about four takeaways here. One is that all the associations are considerably larger than the previous day predictions. The greatest predictor for his teen dating violence on that same day is her teen dating violence, her level of jealousy, and his level of jealousy.
So it's interesting here similar to the previous talk that all of the predictors were associated with next day and same day victimization, the three strongest predictors of next day victimization of his--the boys' next day victimization were the females' perpetration, her level of jealousy, and her trust with partner. With higher trust being associated with greater risk of his teen dating violence.
And then the associations that were predicting next day were increased two to ten times when predicting same day victimization. I'm suggesting that the victimization or the perpetration that occurs escalates rapidly on that same day between both partners and are associated with pretty strong emotions. The three strongest predictors of same day victimization were the females' own teen dating violence and both partners' levels of jealousy. It's interesting that the reported trust and commitment were negatively correlated on the same day, but that the women reported a greater closeness in provision of instrumental support on that same day as the teen--as the males' dating violence. And for--to try to make sense of all this, I'm going to pass it back to Megan.
DR. MEGAN BAIR-MERRITT: So, you know, I think our biggest conclusions and certainly, really that we need to understand this better that clearly, violence occurs within adolescent relationships amidst many complicated emotions and so there's this interrelationship that I think we knew about between perpetration and victimization. I think it's somewhat less surprising that when there are strong feelings of jealousy, it's a predictor of violence that I think it's important in thinking about how do we counsel adolescents? How do we intervene? How do we prevent teen dating violence? This idea that actually as adolescents reported much more trust with their partner, it put them at risk. And that even sort of in the face, in the moment of an episode of violence, they don't report differences in how closely--or how close they feel to that partner and I think these are all important considerations and thinking about how we talk about relationships, how we talk about healthy relationships, how we work with adolescents to be sort of strong advocates for themselves.
So as with any study, we clearly have limitations for us. Our next steps really deal with analysis and we are looking forward to examining young women's perpetration and this sort of similar predictors and correlates for that. We will be looking at how young women tell us they feel the day after a violent event and beginning to break up a little bit some of the psychological versus physical dating violence events to see if we see different patterns.
Also as Ty suggested, there seems to be things that are going on kind of commonly across couples and then some couple--some variation between couples and we'll begin to look at that and to--we also have some ability to look within one young woman if she had multiple partners, how those different relationships unfold overtime.
You know, sort of always a concern is missing data. Our young women were sort of amazing. They responded to the daily diaries most days of the week and so we feel very fortunate to have such a complete data. And, you know, this is obviously a more--a harder-to-reach population, but we feel like it's really important to have their voice in the literature as well and to have more diverse voices. For us, the implications is we have said is that we really need to be sort of thinking about these emotional and including kind of positive feelings and the complexity of these relationships. And that we need to continue to obtain a more granular understanding of how violence unfolds within relationships, for adolescence to develop and build programs that are appropriate for adolescent developments.
We want to thank the National Institute of Justice who's been so supportive. We had an amazing field team led by Eddie Poole. We want to thank our participants who spent four months with us and trusted us enough to give us these data. And my co-principal investigator is also funded by NIH by NIDA. So with that, I am going to pass the ball over. And I believe I'm passing it to Kelly.
KELLY MILLER: Thanks, Megan. I'm just making sure--thank you, Megan, so much for passing it over. Just doing a quick check to make sure you can hear me.
This is Kelly Miller with the Idaho Coalition. And I'm just--thank you to the NIJ for, like, bringing everyone together. And it's just actually very exciting as a practitioner to see studies are beginning to unfold. So kudos to all the researchers for, you know, coming on and talking about where their studies are going right now.
One of the things that I want to start out with is just talking about how it is so essential that research is developing and informing implementation of multi-layer prevention approaches that are happening right now in schools, and out-of-school settings, after-school settings and how this can be a relationship where both researchers are informing prevention, strategies, and approaches, as well as practitioners informing research.
The thing I want to say is the outset, I am just really appreciative of all of the researchers Megan, Ty, and everyone talking about how adolescent relationships abuse or teen dating violence is consequential. I think there is a certain element of adultism within the anti-violence field that I think we're beginning to overcome. And I think a lot of that has come out of some of the CDC studies that show how early perpetration, early experience of abuse, and sexual assault are actually impacted throughout a young person's life into adulthood. And from a practitioner's standpoint made it make sense. I can think of so many women I talk to in their late 20s, 30s, 40s, and that was of course not their first incident of an abusive relationship. In most circumstances, that did begin in adolescence. So I think it's just great. I mean, what they did talk about, which was so true, is that there really is significant gaps in current research that can help inform how prevention works across the socio-ecological model from the individual risk factors and protective factors. So just being really focus on relational and how that works in concert with both community and institutional approaches as well as the ones at the societal level in looking at the societal norms and the ways that other ways that we devalue girls and women in particular in our culture, as well as we devalue individuals based on race, sexual orientation, and many other identities, and how this all can work together.
So the other thing I want to give appreciation for is that all the researchers understood that this is not in any way going to, like, remedy all of ending teen-dating violence, but it is an important element. And all of the practitioners that are really working from a sense of the socio-ecological model know that work needs to be done and research needs to be done around the research around relationships.
The other aspect is--and I was [INDISTINCT] in the studies that everyone really talked about the importance of adolescent development in terms of the studies. A lot of the practitioners are engaging and there's been a shift of the last decade, a lot in middle school, we found that as--from a development standpoint, that's really an opportune time to begin to really establish social norms around relationships and healthy relationships. And I am thinking of--the Start Strong work and thinking of Safe Dates and of course are all of which are really targeting particularly that audience and how these particular studies are a little bit older adolescents and just really going to be curious of how it's going to help inform and really illuminate things that we can be doing within middle school and high school prevention intervention.
So when I think about this, I mean, from a practitioner's standpoint, just really understanding the youth characteristics and adolescent relationship abuse experiences and how youth are affected by programming, that's so important and I think this research is going to be really exciting as it continues to unfold.
I think the aspect from a practitioner's, eventually when the research is done from both entities and they--and they have the outcomes that can help inform what prevention would look like, we feel as practitioners have to keep in mind that there's so many other aspects we always have to hold including what context are you working in, what else is happening in your community that could shape outcomes and pathways to really reducing teen dating violence.
The piece I also want to, like, appreciate is that both of these studies, the first study really had a really high proportion of abuse from Hispanic and Latino communities and the second study from African-American and black communities. I mean, which is a really--there's such a lack of research, you know, when we think about teen dating violence in historically marginalized communities. So I also I want to be thinking about what does this mean for prevention approaches? Because when we look at the data in terms of the prevalence of teen dating violence, we know when we start looking beyond the universal data to the data that's really specific to Latino populations, Native American populations, the black girls, girls with disabilities, the LGBTQ population that there is a higher prevalence of dating abuse. And so what does that mean, I think it's great that these studies are doing that. And as a practitioner, I would want to make sure too that, that cultural, that understanding of the historical marginalization and what's happening and what we're talking about so much in our country is taking into account as well as we're figuring out what does all this mean.
From a practitioner's standpoint, those--some of the slides were, like, giving me chest pains. They were so amazing and I wouldn't have understood what they meant at all and because I have never taken statistics. So--but as practitioners, there's things that we can do to really inform our own analysis of how do we look at research with a critical lens, how do we look at it with bringing what we know about being a practitioner and working in schools and after-school programs with young people, so I think just a quick tip, first and foremost, when you--any practitioner is looking at research and these studies, I'm sure eventually will end up peer review journals and we'll have papers look at, so in the meantime, you always want to be thinking about what's the question they're trying to answer? And I think for me the question that both bodies of research that are ongoing are really looking at what about that relational level in the socio-ecological model? How can we pay attention to that and learn from that to begin to inform our prevention work?
The second piece you want to see are there, like, specific questions. You could see that the research is beginning to drill down on questions around, you know, what does it mean around coercion and withdrawing? And what does it mean around jealousy? And so as a practitioner, always try to, like, be thinking about, what is it that they're asking for? What are they trying to figure out?
With regard to the approach and method, I mean, I think there's things that we can do and things as practitioners that we probably can't do unless, you know, have a research background or have statistics and understand that. What I really, really encourage practitioners that are working in community, in tribal, domestic and sexual violence programs within state coalitions or other anti-violence organizations is to build a relationship with someone in your community that has this expertise. I think having that academic and particularly academic institutions or a--just a huge resource for us and having that partnership so you can have a relationship with someone who does this that understands statistics and research and analysis, to say help me make sense of this. I think that for me and if our organization has always been essential, so that in terms in your reading figures and tables, those generally will tell that there's things that you need to be paying attention to. So when, you know, Megan and Ty, Michael, and Amy were all taking about things that were significant, that actually has meaning within the research community. And so understanding is something as significant or none significant, they have precise statistical meanings and you want to learn more about what does that mean.
I think on the end, you want to look at the research and when these come out in papers. You want to be asking, did they actually answer those specific questions that they intended to ask and answer? And so that will help you just think about it and it's okay if you change your mind with the author's interpretations if you're reading papers. And if you're still a beginner with analysis, it's okay to kind of ask others and say, what do you think of this, and really don't dispel your own lived experience in having working directly with survivors of teen dating violence or intimate partner violence or sexual assaults.
I think in the end, you have to come up with your own assessment of whether or not you agree with the conclusion or not. In this particular instance, both of the bodies of research are ongoing and you can see where they have some emerging themes that are coming up that we can begin to explore. But without having the solid final outcomes, all of this right now is more about questions that we might have as practitioners and trying to figure out, say, what can we learn from this, when do we need to see more, and what can we actually begin to think about changing now?
When I looked at the studies, these were super exciting. I think the NYU study and talking about vulnerabilities and I think of those as also as risk factors. I think both Michael and Amy talked a little bit about risk factors as well. This concept around what are those risks factors for teen dating violence that become a basis for targeted intervention and focusing on those risk factors around the relationship context of a teen dating violence relationship? That was a lot of relationships in one sentence. So the concepts around coercion and demand, avoid and withdraw, I think that's going to be a fascinating area for us to continue to learn from. What does that mean?
I think the questions, and I really appreciated the way that they talked about the demand, avoid, and withdraw, and the coercion aspect is complex escalation. I think that would make sense to practitioners in terms of when are things getting worse, when are things escalating? And that's something certainly within intimate partner violence, we've done a lot of research on. I think it's so important that we don't conflate research with adult and intimate partner violence, but we can still learn from it when we get stuck.
And so one of the questions I would have as a practitioner, when we're thinking about dyadic or this idea of this couples, I mean, how do we look at as couples. I'm just curious about this particular research and if it's going to be going along the same lines, if some of the research with adults around couples' intervention. And for those that have been working in intimate partner violence work, you know, the couples intervention piece has been really complicated in terms of do we have a really deep enough understanding to know what's at play? In other words, when we're talking about this particular studies, physically aggressive couples and the unilateral versus bilateral, the study that came to mind for me was Michael Johnson's work around intimate partner terrorism, which shows that those are most of the folks that are actually seeking services and that would be like the unilateral when you have one partner that's abusive or exerting physically aggressive behaviors as compared to the bilateral.
And so the other kind of big question I know that we've been wrestling with for some time now is just the context. I mean, one of the things I've been doing this work for over thirty years and I will tell you that it's the understanding and the complexities of human relationships and what's happening and also in the context of societal norms, it's so complicated. And so what is the role or the non-role of self-defense and when I think about gender parity, some of the things that have come up has all also shown in other cities that females are more likely to report aggressive behavior that might otherwise have been considered self-defense by somebody else than males and how does that play into the study and what's the impact? I was curious because NYU study unless I'm getting this wrong, it sounded like it was very much from observable, they were looking at the couples for an hour.
The other case I would say from that study that could be really interesting in terms of how it might inform prevention work when they talked--when Michael I think in particular talked about, you know, they observe folks for an hour, they had different activities and games, like, are there different circumstances that we could--we recreate within a classroom or a group setting where there's--where we're looking at how individuals are going through this activity and really stopping and doing role playing along the way about what some of those non-hostile criteria that they listed in terms of negotiating conflict, what would that look like? So I don't know exactly what the games were or the activities that they're using, but I mean, those are some of the kind of deeper questions when I think about research. What is it that we can replicate within a classroom setting or an after-classroom setting to think about how can we actually recreate opportunities for people, the young people to practice what normally are called, like, conflict or role playing skills? I know in particular I think about The Fourth R out of Canada, David Wolfe's curriculum, has a great deal of role play and it just feels like some of the role play around some of the questions that they're asking of NYU research could be really fruitful.
I think, for me, it is kind of a big question though around the unilateral versus bilateral and really kind of unpacking what is the context of that, and so for the researchers always thinking about that, I know that they had talked about observable behaviors and so what do those look like in terms of escalation.
And then I think the other complexity--and this goes with both the NYU research and the research coming out Boston Public Health and RTI that how do we address all of this when so much of our societal culture is really built around domination, extraction, and violence? And when I think particularly about young people and the exposure to the way that conflict is not handled well, you know, I'm not talking about either within song lyrics or television shows, or movies, I mean, it's just we have so much to undo our culture in terms of what really interdependent, resilient, healthy behaviors might look like.
I think the last thing I would point out from the NYU study, again, over 50% were Hispanic or Latino, and just what are the cultural implications? I mean, I would be super curious if they're unpacking some of that, you know, what, you know, what have been the norms within their family structures in terms of how do you handle conflict, how do you handle violence. And so I think those are just some really important things for us to be thinking about.
So the other study I would talk about as Megan and Ty were talking around, I think it's super interesting that they're looking at the lifespan of a relationship where there already had been a disclosure of teen dating violence. Again, this was a little bit older group, 18, I believe, was about the average age. And so what does that mean in terms of if we can look at the context and how are we going to have intervention? So, I think from a practitioner, the piece that gets really complicated for me is when you look at the research around disclosures, right? Of teen dating violence, most often, young people are disclosing to other peers. So, the question for this as a practitioner, if this information shows outcomes that there are predictive behaviors, how do we actually help other peers understand? And then if this comes into play, what does with bystander intervention look like? And I think about Green Dot and some of the other kinds of great curriculum out there and how do we actually make this meaningful in bystander intervention? Because if we're looking at the lifespan, not likely unless these are really clear observable behaviors, that you're going to have intervention at a school level or any other kind of institutional or community level, and so what does that look like? Or is it actually helping to inform individual youth kind of what are kind of some of the predictors of what might happen?
I think in this particular study, the predictor of violence around jealousy is something that's also going to be complicated in terms of prevention work. What does that look like? It's not unusual for young people to equate jealousy with forms of affection and love, and a lot of that's because that's what--to the culture, has really done. And so, again, we have a huge, like, hurdle to overcome about how are we going to really think about jealousy in a way and help them with critical thinking to understand, you know, what are healthy boundaries? And I know many curriculums, I think of Safe Dates, The Fourth R, and others, talk about things like that, but how are we going to tease out the difference between what jealousy is versus not?
Again, this particular one was interesting with the automated survey, independent young people like responding in ways they were.
The other piece I would just say from a practitioner standpoint is just to highlight. I mean, this was studied and I really appreciate that it's particularly focused on a historically marginalized community of black, young people.
And I just wanted to also be really conscious of any of these times when we're coming up with studies that are showing indicators, maybe even without context about co-occurrence of physical aggression that we need to be really cautious around school-to-prison pipeline. And then the reason I say that is a lot of the work done by Francine Sherman and others tells us that particularly young, black girls are actually forced or sent into juvenile detention processes for a lot less behaviors than young boys, or boys. And so I just wanted to also be always conscious about unintended impacts about the way that we're, you know, contextualizing when we're talking about co-occurrence, or just talking about the way that violence occurs. And so I think that's just kind of side note, but something that I was thinking about as folks were talking today is that I don't think the attention for all of us would not be create any kind of studies or processes that would validate or indicate why we should be over incarcerating young people of color in particular.
So what are the, like, last few notes I would say around implications? I mean, we know that prevention should begin in--early in life so I'm really hoping that both of these studies can help us understand how we can take what they're learning and integrate it into middle school curriculum, I mean, over the time period, many practitioners have been doing this work, the focus used to be on high school, now it's much more middle school through high school. And I suspect that, you know, many are moving now more into elementary school so how can we, like, you know, bring all of this together and make sense of it in ways that can really inform our prevention work.
I think the point that many of the practitioners have made that adolescent social norms are different than adult dynamics, but they have also really been clear about the importance of these relationships to young people. I think that was another certain element that we tend to, like, dismiss teen dating violence. If I think about the anti-violence field across the country, it is really predominantly adult-focused and we really began to lift up the impact and the long-term consequences that all of the researchers spoke of, I think that can be really helpful in really opening up how we really create our field and what we're providing access to in terms of young people in particularly historically marginalized communities.
I think the last piece I want to touch base again on the bilateral versus the unilateral aggression, and I have to be honest, some of that makes me nervous in terms of I just want to make sure that we're not missing any kind of contextual information that we would need to know. When it's bilateral, you have both parties who are being aggressive, you know, is any of it within something that would be closer to a self-defense or in response to what the--I'd be curious about the co-occurrence of the jealousy, you know, what does that mean? Does it mean that if it is the phenomenon and I--and, you know, I'm curious about the word phenomenon because I also feel like none of this happens in isolation, that while there can be certain significant findings in these studies that we can never be--forget that the young people are also having in these relationships in the context of broader societal norms and what's happening in the school culture, or what's happening in their neighborhoods, what's happening in communities and across the country in terms of who are we valuing, who are we not valuing.
I think the other piece is what does it mean in terms of programming? I mean, I think the thing that many practitioners are finding, there had been a great deal of focus around individual and relational interventions, and we really had to pay more attention to the community and institutional interventions and the societal interventions to really change norms, to really shape and really have a difference around teen dating violence and all forms of gender violence, frankly. And so things like that are big questions I still have about what are the implications for the study.
And again, the whole concept around the coercion and demand, avoid and withdraw in programming, I think there's a lot of richness and both studies that we can begin to learn from and we'll be excited to hear kind of where they go.
So I have pains again just highlighting the aspect around jealousy. I think this is going to be really tough. I think we've been trying to do that particularly around technology and, you know, just cell phone use, and social media use, what are healthy boundaries around that. I think there's a lot work around jealousy that has been done along the lines of popular culture back when all of the Twilight books were coming out, and movies. They were really, really unhealthy models of relationships that's really embedded in jealousy, and--but that was really lifted up as something to, I don't know, to strive for. So it's like we're going to have a lot of work to do around that as well. But the more we can kind of tease out what does jealousy look like, and I'm hoping the study can go there, and really inform kind of the prevention work that you do, I think that would be super great. And I think that's it. And I'll make sure there's enough time for questions, Michelle, so I'll turn it back over to you.
CARRIE MULFORD: Thank you, this is Carrie. Thank you, Kelly. Thank you to all of the presenters. That was just really, really fantastic. I actually wanted to give--ask, first of all, the presenters to go ahead and unmute yourselves so that you can speak freely and answer questions. I'd like to give first Amy and Mike, and then Megan and Ty, a chance to maybe respond to a little bit of Kelly's -- the points that Kelley made because she raised a lot of questions in her presentation.
DR. AMY SMITH SLEP: Okay. Sure. So, Kelly, I actually do think that some of the interaction tasks that we've developed for data purposes here, have some potential to get used in classrooms as a way of -- rather than telling kids, you know, deep breathe when you're frustrated or whatever, to have them really think about, "Well, how do I -- if I have to keep interacting with someone, how do I do that in a way even if I'm frustrated that's going to be effective and calm and not cause problems?" So we have tasks like, they have a very challenging figure to build out of Legos. One person gets the directions. The other person has the Lego. And so the whole thing has to be done verbally. And they have -- it's timed, and there's time pressure and all, and it pulls for people's conflict styles and communication styles. So it absolutely is a context where it could be something for. And I like thinking about things in that context.
And the notion of how to engage kids in relevant sorts of prevention activities at the right moment so that they're off on the right track and not settling into dysfunctional patterns. I think so often, kids hear us say, "This is the right way to do it." But as you were pointing out, the culture, prevailing culture, it--sends such strong messages that, you know, it's easy to discount the grownups. My oldest son is three weeks into his first dating relationship. So, all this is extremely salient to me.
And in terms--in terms of the bilateral, unilateral kinds of aggression, I absolutely agree with you in terms of trying to make sure that we're understanding whether these patterns play out differently, whether dyadic process looks different in relationships that have different presentations of aggression. At this point, we don't have a large enough sample to allow us to kind of partition things in that way. But ultimately, of course, wouldn't it be very nice to be able to know something about complex processes that--our vulnerabilities for particular signatures of aggression and what allows those processes before anything even presents as aggressive. So, yes, that's a direction that we're hoping to be able to go as the research continues. Thank you.
DR. TY RIDENOUR: That's exciting.
DR. MICHAEL LORBER: Yeah. I have-I had a couple of responses, too. I--you pointed out the--you know, wondering if it would be a good idea to model teen dating couple relationships on existing programs for adults' violent--you know, adult relationships. And I think the answer is, more or less, a clear no. And that the main thing that's been taught, that, you know, that we've learned from the couple domestic violence intervention literature is that the mean effect size is practically nothing. There's a--there's a meta-analysis Julia Babcock and her colleagues published a few years back, showing that. I think the that failure, plus the fact that this--the tracks seemed to be laid down in adolescents for how kids learn to be in relationships, those, you know, that's the impetus right there to do things in a preventive setting. And, of course, we, you know, we're learning about teen dating violence prevention, that there are some effects of, you know, programs like Foshee’s Safe Dates and Wolfe’s Fourth R and the new CDC initiative that's a, you know, an extension of those, and deepening of those interventions, as well as Jenny Langhinrichsen-Rohling's Building a Lasting Love. Those are some interventions that, you know, we now know are showing some preventive impacts on teen dating violence. And so I think timing is a big issue, and, you know, some of these--and some of the--so rather than doing old, failed, too late, trying to repair something that's already broken type of interventions, couples that, really, the action is in teen dating violence prevention as a means of both preventing teen dating violence as it's occurring in the teenage years and preventing it from developing, and it's just the way that these people are in their future relationships into adulthood. So, I would--so I think we shouldn't repeat that. I think we should learn from the failures of the adult interventions.
As far as the issues you raised with regards the bilateral nature of aggression, and thinking about, you know, the context of self-defense and things like that, I'm actually--I'm actually interested in what other people have to say on that based on literature. I know that in the adult literature, when--if you ask about the precipitants of aggression, there is at least one or two studies, including one that Amy did with Sue O'Leary, showing that women's -- women are more likely -- are less likely than men to report self-defense hence the reason for them hitting their partners. You know, they're saying that other events are precipitating that. There's also a more recent study from Dan O'Leary, this is also from Stony Brook, and this is in a college sample, found something pretty similar, so basically, women who were, you know, who are being--who are aggressive--and I believe these are college women, they were--the primary reasons they were giving for engaging a physical aggression were related to anger and poor communication on the couple rather than a self-defense motive. I don't know specifically, you know, so I mean, of course, college students are at the tail end of adolescence. I don't know specifically about that issue and, you know…
DR. AMY SMITH SLEP: And clearly, those aren't…
DR. MICHAEL LORBER: And like isolate those kids. Yeah.
DR. AMY SMITH SLEP: And clearly, those aren't treatment-seeking samples. Those aren't--uh-huh.
DR. MICHAEL LORBER: Oh, right, yeah. Actually, right. That's--right, that's a great point. I mean, that goes, you know, hand and glove of what I was saying before. The adult literature is based on treatment-seeking samples, oftentimes court referred and things like that. That's trying to fix a problem that's already broken. I mean, this--the whole--the whole notion of prevention is getting people, you know, I mean--well, there are lots of different ways of doing it, but the way that we're thinking about is more from a--from a universal, you know, prevention standpoint of getting everyone in, not people--not--you're trying to engage as many people as possible, not just people where they're treatment-seeking because, again, it's already--it is already a dynamic that needs to be fixed.
CARRIE MULFORD: Michael, you don't breathe. Michael? Michael, you never--you never breathe.
DR. AMY SMITH SLEP: I know.
CARRIE MULFORD: This is Carrie. Recognizing that we only have three minutes left, and that Megan has not had a chance to jump in, I also wanted to add to what Kelly said, one of the questions form of participants asking about how much of a teenager's jealousy towards, you know, her partner is due to the realities of their behavior versus the reflection of, like, cheating, versus the reflection of their own insecurities? And I know that you don't specifically ask that question, but it made me think of some other research like Peggy Giordano has done about infidelity is actually a predictor also of dating violence, so I just want you to speak to that issue around jealousy because I forgot to raise and I was thinking about and Kelly raised it. So start with that.
DR. MEGAN BAIR-MERRITT: Yeah, and it's great. Thanks, Carrie. And thanks, Kelly, for your thoughts and responses. I think they were incredibly important and insightful. I think the things that I take from them, one, are just the need for all of us to really sort of actively think about and include adolescents, I think we have sort of just tried to group them in with adults, and they're not. And we need to sort of, in a different way, support them, help them build healthy relationships, empower them.
It also kind of brings to mind a quote that actually, I think, came out of the HIV research, but somebody talked--in speaking about the HIV research said, "Statistics are numbers without tears." And I sort of think about that in your reflections, Kelly, that sort of all of our numbers need context, and they need voice, and they need meaningful interpretation, and we need to really be, I think, very thoughtful about that. And so sort of taking our quantitative, our numerical results but really thinking about kind of what does that mean for adolescents in general based on who they are in development and in particular for marginalized communities and how does this intersect with sort of long history of racism and systemic oppression.
And you talked about the sort of school-to-prison pipeline. And, honestly, mass incarceration and how it's affected, sort of, adolescence and partnership, and kind of within communities and I think all of those pieces are incredibly important parts of the discussion. I think also when I think about how our results, what the next steps might be in terms of programming, I would love to see them used. I haven't thought quite as much about sort of the bystander approach in other adolescents, but I think, can we empower adolescents to sort of get those signals that they sort of learn as they begin to have those dealings, how to protect themselves, or how can he kind of use the results to empower adolescents to gain insight into their own relationships, their own feelings, in ways that are helpful to them.
CARRIE MULFORD: Thank you so much. Okay. And that is a perfect spot to end because I promised we would not go overtime, and it is now 3:30 but I thank you all so much and especially for the presenters and being patient with us in redoing the webinar and it involves a lot of coordination, and work, and we recognize that, and we thank you very, very much. So--oh, if your question was not answered, we will be getting to those questions and we can provide responses to those privately. Thank you.
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