Dating violence is widespread among adolescents in the United States, with cross-sectional studies showing that between 9% and 38% of adolescents have been victimized in the past year and/or within any dating relationship .These studies have generally shown a gender symmetry trend for psychological and physical types of dating violence among adolescents.The timeline follow-back assessment method has been widely used in studies to retrospectively capture at risk behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, among adolescents .We adapted the method to capture both relationship and dating violence histories in a sample of college students.
Other longitudinal studies also showed similar trends of sexual and physical violence revictimization; once victimized in adolescence, subjects were at increased risk for revictimization in young adulthood/college years .
More than one-third of abused females had two or more abusive partners: controlling behavior (35.6 percent); put downs/name calling (37.0); pressured sex (42.9); insults (44.3); slapped/hit (50.0); and threats (62.5).
Males also had two or more abusive partners, as follows: controlling behavior (42.1 percent); insults (51.2); put downs (53.3); threats (55.6); and unwanted calls/texts/visits (60.7).
While retrospective dating violence assessment may result in under-reporting of abuse due to issues of recall bias , retrospective assessment is the field’s standard for capturing dating violence experiences and our assessment method used memory prompts to facilitate recall, which we describe in more detail in the methods section. Given that dating violence has been associated with mental and behavioral health issues that may be a result of the violence or a contributing factor to it, our study attempted to provide additional information about dating violence among adolescents spanning age 13 to 19, including the number of times they experienced the dating violence, the age they first experienced it, and number of abusive partners.
Data for the study were collected as part of a feasibility study for testing the study questionnaire.