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APA: About One-Third of Teens Perpetrate Dating Violence

And, children who bully in middle school are more likely to perpetrate adolescent dating violence

THURSDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- About one-third of adolescents report having perpetrated adolescent dating violence (ADV), and children who bully in middle school are much more likely to perpetrate ADV in high school, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, held from July 31 to Aug. 4 in Honolulu.

Michele Ybarra, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Center for Innovative Public Health Research in San Clemente, Calif., and colleagues examined data from 1,058 adolescents, aged 14 to 20 years, from the national, online Growing up with Media study to assess the prevalence of physical, psychological, and sexual ADV perpetration and victimization. The researchers found that 41 and 37 percent of females and males, respectively, reported experiencing ADV as a victim, while 35 and 29 percent, respectively, reported being a perpetrator. Overlap was common, with 29 and 24 percent, respectively, reporting both victimization and perpetration experiences.

Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues examined the prevalence of bullying, sexual harassment, and ADV in a cohort of 625 students (fifth, sixth, and seventh graders) from 2008 to 2012. The researchers found that youth who engaged in high rates of bullying perpetration in middle school were almost seven times more likely to report engaging in physical ADV perpetration in high school. The correlation was not moderated by gender.

"Both boys and girls who engaged in high rates of bullying toward other students at the start of the study were seven times more likely to report being physically violent in dating relationships four years later," Espelage said in a statement.

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