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A Network Approach to Examining Co-occurring Victimization and Perpetration in Dating Abuse Among a Nationally Representative Sample of US Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescent Health Volume: Online Dated: February 2022
Iekede Vries; Stephen Abeyta ; Sarah Lockwood; Carlos A. Cuevas; Emily Rothman
Date Published
February 2022

Recognizing that adolescent dating abuse (ADA) is a public health issue and that adolescents may experience victimization, engage in perpetration, or both, this study exploreds the co-occurrences of ADA victimization and perpetration, specifically examining which experiences and behaviors are most likely to co-occur and whether these vary by gender.



Study data came from a nationally representative sample of 807 adolescents between the ages of 11 and 21 years old in the United States who reported on at least one relationship in the past year through the Measure of Adolescent Relationship Harassment and Abuse (MARSHA). Using this sample, the study applied network analysis to depict each ADA type as a “node” in a network where it was directly or indirectly associated with other types of victimization and perpetration. This network approach allowed for an empirical understanding of the patterns of victimization and perpetration co-occurrences. Findings demonstrate multiple associations between victimization and perpetration, which were present to a greater extent among male adolescents. The results reveal clusters of co-occurring victimization and perpetration within the domains of (1) cyber and emotional ADA and (2) physical and emotional ADA. A diverse range of victimization experiences (e.g., sexual victimization) did not typically co-occur with perpetration. The results suggest that ADA identification and specialized services require a nonbinary approach to address victims and perpetrators' trauma and abusive behaviors. Detection of certain ADA types, especially controlling behaviors within the cyber domain, can help identify and prevent a wide range of other ADA types that tend to co-occur. (Publisher Abstract)