Georgia Identifies Three Trajectories of Psychological Dating Aggression

A new study from the University of Georgia College of Public Health shows that adolescents follow three distinct trajectories of psychological dating violence perpetration and victimization: low, increasing, and high. Behaviors that control, intimidate, or put down the partner may precede physical violence and have the potential to have long-term negative consequences.
As part of the Healthy Teens Longitudinal Study, a cohort of adolescents completed annual surveys from sixth to 12th grade. Teens reported whether or not they had dated and the frequency of psychological aggression in their romantic relationships.

This longitudinal study highlights the mutuality of dating violence, rather than some teens being the perpetrators and others the victims. More than 90 percent of the respondents were classified in concordant developmental trajectories of perpetration and victimization: low aggression (36 percent), increasing aggression (40 percent) and high aggression (15 percent). Only a small group reported low perpetration and increasing victimization (7 percent).

The principal investigator and lead author of the study is Dr. Pamela Orpinas, professor of health promotion and behavior in the College of Public Health. She published the study with Dr. Xiao Song, associate professor in biostatistics at the College of Public Health, Dr. Patricia Reeves, associate professor from Georgia’s School of Social Work, and doctoral students in health promotion, Ms. Lusine Nahapetyan and Ms. Caroline McNicholas.

Posted October 29, 2012.