"In this regard, we found evidence that teen relationships can matter a great deal over the long run."Exner-Cortens and her co-authors analyzed a sample of 5,681 American heterosexual youths ages 12-18 from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health who were interviewed as teens and approximately five years later as young adults about their dating experiences and mental and behavioral health.
Participants were asked if a partner had ever used insults, name-calling or disrespect in front of others; had sworn at them; threatened violence; pushed or shoved them; or thrown objects that could hurt them.
Sex differences in patterns of perceived social support as a moderator were also examined with more significant effects for girls.
Teenagers in physically or psychologically aggressive dating relationships are more than twice as likely to repeat such damaging relationships as adults and report increased substance use and suicidal feelings years later, compared with teens with healthy dating experiences, reports a new Cornell study.
Males who had experienced teen dating violence reported more anti-social behaviors, were 1.3 times more likely to use marijuana and twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts.
The study controlled for pubertal development, child maltreatment history and a range of socio-demographic factors."In addition to clarifying potential long-term impacts of teen dating violence victimization, our study highlights the importance of talking to all adolescents about dating and dating violence," Exner-Cortens said.
Dating violence was associated with higher levels of depression, suicidal thoughts, and poorer educational outcomes.
The authors found that teen girls and boys reported aggressive experiences in relationships nearly equally, with 30 percent of males and 31 percent of females in the study showing a history of physical and/or psychological dating violence."Teens are experiencing their first romantic relationships, so it could be that aggressive relationships are skewing their view of what's normal and healthy and putting them on a trajectory for future victimization," said lead author Deinera Exner-Cortens, M. '10, a doctoral student in the field of human development in the College of Human Ecology."This includes prioritizing teen dating violence screening during clinical visits and developing health care-based interventions for responding to adolescents who are in unhealthy relationships, in order to help reduce future health problems in these teens."Study co-authors are John Eckenrode, Cornell professor of human development and director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, and Emily Rothman at the Boston University School of Public Health.