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Dating violence among adolescents

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  1. Dating violence among adolescents Dr Erica Bowen, Matt Mawer, and Emma Holdsworth

  2. Defining violence Physical Threats Psycho – emotional Sexual Saltzman et al. (2002)

  3. Physical violence Intentionaluse of physical force with the potential for causing death, disability, injury, or harm. Examples: slapping, grabbing, choking, punching, burning, restraining, biting

  4. Sexual violence Intentional, unwanted sexual touching or intentional touching of a person of diminished capacity Examples: groping, pressuring, getting partner drunk/drugged

  5. Psychological/emotional violence Psychological trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Examples: humiliating, controlling, withholding money, isolating, shaming

  6. Threats of violence Using words, gestures, or weapons to communicate the intent  to cause death, disability, injury, or physical harm.   Examples: threats of any type of violence (including through social media)

  7. Definition problems Are these standard definitions? How do we separate “threats”? Sub-hierarchies of violence Who defines behaviour as abuse?

  8. Prevalence “The prevention and reduction of youth dating violence has become an issue of national urgency" (Antle et al. 2007; 173) Boys 15% – 44% Approx. 25% Girls 14% – 43% 6 teenagers in a class of 25 students

  9. Risk factors for dating violence • Parental influence • Peer influence • General delinquency • Substance abuse • Psychological adjustment & competencies • Attitudes towards violence • Nature of relationship & dating behaviour • Being a victim of dating violence

  10. Parental influence • Perception of lesser parental involvement • Witnessing inter-parental aggression • Being a victim of parental aggression • Directing aggression towards parents • Perception of parental support for aggressive solutions

  11. Parental influence • Perception of lesser parental involvement • Perceived lack of authority OR • Lack of exposure to good relationships models, emotional support & stability • OR BOTH

  12. Parental influence • Witnessing inter-parental violence • Modelling the behaviour - social cognitive model of violence • Threat to self and self blame • Ineffective coping

  13. Parental influence • Being a victim of parental aggression • Problems controlling behaviour • Problems recognising bad behaviours • Developmental traumatology • Childhood abuse = historic risk factor • Trauma symptoms = changeable risk factor

  14. Developmental traumatology Childhood abuse (historic) Trauma symptoms (changeable) Dating violence Stress-induced neurobiological changes

  15. Peer influence • Friends with experience of dating violence • Friends who perpetrate dating violence • Friends who use aggression generally • Friends who are victims of dating violence

  16. Peer influence • Friends with experience of dating violence • Interdependence theory • Parents become less important as social relationships become more important • Friends’ perpetration of dating violence • Socially acceptable dating behaviour norms

  17. Peer influence • Friends who use aggression generally • Social groups not too diverse • Group norms unchallenged • Friends who are victims of dating violence • Longitudinal predictor (girls only) • Social groups include perpetrators and victims

  18. Summary • Parental influence • Perception of lesser involvement = less authority & less emotional support • Witnessing inter-parental aggression = modelling behaviour & ineffective coping • Victim of parental aggression = trauma symptoms (proximal risk for violence)

  19. Summary • Peer influence • Adolescents susceptible to influences of peer behaviour • Socially acceptable dating norms • Cohesive groups mean norms remains unchallenged • Social groups can include perpetrators AND victims

  20. Intervention programmes

  21. Results Behavioural Personal / skills Attitudinal

  22. Other issues • Interventions can have negative effects • Provoke behaviour • Negative peer influence • Do group interventions work? • Evidence mixed • Supportive; but enabling?

  23. Conclusions Four dimensions of violence 6 in a class of 25 students (25%) Main risks factors: parental and peer Interventions: behavioural change But: Lack of European data! “The prevention and reduction of youth dating violence has become an issue of national urgency" (Antle et al. 2007; 173)

  24. We want to answer your questions!

  25. References: http://www.cavaproject.eu/ Erica Bowen E.Bowen@coventry.ac.uk Matt Mawer M.Mawer@coventry.ac.uk Emma Holdsworth Emma.Holdsworth@coventry.ac.uk