Protective factors against dating violence

Although there are methodological problems accurately determining prevalence rates, a conservative estimate is that one in three adolescents has experienced physical or sexual violence in a dating relationship (Avery-Leaf, Cascardi, O'Leary, & Cano, 1997).

These rates are higher when verbal abuse is included in the definition.

The current study sought to identify the risk and protective factors evident in early adolescence that are associated with sexual and dating violence victimization in late adolescence.

The sample involved 236 (52 % female) low-income Latino (69 %) and African American (31 %) youth, their older sisters, and their mothers who were studied when youth were, on average, ages 13 and 18 years.

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Protective factors are attributes or resources that help decrease the risk for negative interactions with others and society.

There are also risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of a teen becoming a perpetrator of dating violence.

Many of these are developmentally normal in youth, such as little to no relationship experience, vulnerability to peer pressure, and unsophisticated communication skills.

A lack of longitudinal data and a reliance on self-report data limits the causal connections that can be made between risk factors and teen dating violence.

In most cases the relationship between risk factors and teen dating violence listed below represent correlations, but not necessarily causality.

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