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Developmental Pathways of Teen Dating Violence in a High-Risk Sample

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2016
28 pages
This study examined the developmental pathways to teen dating violence (TDV) in late adolescence among a sample of adolescents exposed to early childhood risk factors (i.e., parental psychopathology and marital conflict), as well as the association of proximal risk and protective factors in early adolescence to TDV in late adolescence.
The study found that exposure to parental psychopathology and marital conflict in infancy were linked to a child's subsequent aggression and TDV in late adolescence; however, parenting behaviors, particularly maternal warmth, can be protective against TDV by promoting self-regulation among adolescents exposed to other parental risk factors in childhood. Mothers with alcoholic partners tended to exhibit lower warmth and sensitivity toward their children compared to mothers with non-alcoholic partners. This suggests the need for children with alcoholic parents to receive support and intervention. Also, children with parents who have been involved in domestic violence and/or substance abuse should be referred for guidance in positive parenting and conflict management. The study sample consisted of 185 adolescents (median age of 17.68 years old) who had been participants, along with their parents, in a longitudinal study of the effects of parental alcohol problems on child development. The adolescents completed an additional wave of survey data in 11th-12th grades. The 227 families were initially recruited from county birth records that showed they had a child 1 year old. After the initial assessment, families were assessed when the children were ages 18-, 24-, and 36-months, and also when they were in kindergarten and fourth, sixth, and eighth grades. Data for the current study encompassed individual characteristics, family and peer relationships, substance use, dating behaviors, and involvement in TDV as a victim or perpetrator. 6 tables, 4 figures, and 15 references

Date Published: June 1, 2016