Both teen guys, girls experience teen dating violence
Teen dating violence has become far too prevalent. According to a new study, almost one in six young people seeking emergency care has reported violent acts involving punching, hair pulling, shoving and throwing things. As dismal as these statistics are, they may also present an opportunity for emergency departments (EDs) to identify these adolescents and get them help to prevent future incidents.
Results of the study, published online in late June in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, revealed that not only is teen dating violence common, but it also affects both young men and young women. In addition, both sexes are also likely to have been victims, aggressors—or both.
Participants in the study included more than 4,000 patients between the ages of 14 and 20 who visited the U-M Health System’s ED in Ann Arbor, Mich., between late 2010 and early 2013.
Researchers found that in the last year, one in five young women reported being the victim or aggressor in a violent situation with a romantic partner. For young men, one in eight reported the same.
Lack of data on men as both victims and aggressors is also troubling to lead study author Dr. Vijay Singh, a family medicine physician and U-M lecturer in the Family and Emergency Medicine department.
He noted in a statement that last year recommendations were made to ask women ages 14 to 46 about relationship violence during healthcare visits by the top national panel for preventive health services. There are no such screening recommendations from the panel for men.
Because relationships in adolescence predict patterns for adult relationships, Dr. Singh noted that working with adolescents who experience dating violence is critical to preventing adult intimate partner violence.
Judy Petrushka, domestic violence outreach specialist at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., says, “It’s important for emergency room staff to be aware of short- and long-term consequences of teen dating violence so they can be watching and assessing for these indicators.”
Things to watch out for include:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Alcohol abuse
- Cigarette and drug use
- Sexual health risk behaviors
Dr. Singh, along with his study co-authors and colleagues, are working with urban EDs to test a behavioral intervention tool directed at helping teens understand how to reduce violence in every aspect of their lives.
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