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Adolescents living in urban communities or experiencing socioeconomic disadvantages may be exposed to increased levels of family and community violence (Banyard, Cross, & Modecki, 2006; Vézina & Hébert 2007).Compared with their peers, female and male adolescents with a history of family violence are at a greater risk of dating violence victimization and perpetration, respectively (Laporte, Jiang, Pepler, & Chamberland, 2011).
This phenomenology investigated how adolescents conceptualize and experience dating relationships.Adolescent perceptions of social dating norms (Sears & Byers, 2010) as well as mental health issues may also impact students’ exposure to dating violence.There is a direct relationship between tolerant attitudes toward violence and becoming a physically violent dating partner (Josephson & Proulx, 2008).Unfortunately, young adolescents may be unaware how to behave in a dating relationship, so they are vulnerable to inaccurate messages from their family of origin, peers and the media (Connolly, Friedlander, Pepler, Craig, & Laporte, 2010).With respect to family influences, many individuals are socialized that violence is a normal and appropriate response to conflict in intimate family relationships (Hays et al., 2007).Peers and media also influence behaviors and attitudes.
Research suggests between 50 to 80% of adolescents report knowing friends who were involved in dating violence (Ashley & Foshee, 2005; Halpern, Oslak, Young, Martin & Kupper, 2001; Teen Research Unlimited, 2008).
Adolescents who prefer aggressive media such as physical or verbal violence in television, movies, music and video games are likely to exhibit violent relationship patterns (Connolly et al., 2010).
When faced with fictional dating situations, the majority of young adolescents resorted to aggressive conflict resolution techniques, such as fighting (Prospero, 2006).
Communication problems, such as an inability to express feelings, often led to additional disagreements among dating partners.
Livingston, Hequembourg, Testa, and Van Zile-Tamsen (2007) found women who had been sexually victimized as adolescents reported the following areas of vulnerability may have contributed to their victimization: lack of guardianship, inexperience with dating, substance use, social and relationship concerns and powerlessness.
Dating violence is often under reported because students lack awareness about appropriate dating behaviors (Hays et al., 2007; Lewis & Fremouw, 2001).