These findings, to be presented today in Honolulu at a meeting of the American Psychological Association, are the latest to shed light on a problem that has only come out of the shadows in recent years.
Researchers and educators eager to stop violent patterns early — and reduce abuse not only among teens but among the adults they will become — already are testing programs that teach younger children and teens how to have healthier relationships.
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But as they seek to understand why so many young people hit, demean or force sex on their partners, much remains unclear.
One big question: Are boys and girls really equally at risk to become victims or abusers?
Estimates of teen dating violence prevalence vary widely, because studies define and measure violence differently over different periods of time for different populations.
Forms of abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional and psychological.
Victims and abusers come from all social and economic backgrounds, faith communities, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Both females and males can be victims of dating violence, but numerous studies reveal the reality that the majority of victims are females (usually more than 95 percent).
Emotional: Humiliating the victim in front of friends or making the victim feel guilty when she confronts the abuser about the abuse.
Intimidation: Making the victim fearful by using threatening behavior, abuse of animals, verbal aggression or destruction of property.
Some definitions of teen dating violence include incidences of all three types of relationship violence (physical, sexual, and emotional or psychological violence), while others focus on just one or two of those types of violence.