Study sheds new light on dating violence

October 15th, 2008 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 15 (IANS) A new study sheds light on the lives of troubled teenagers, mostly from broken homes, who often witness violence at home, leading to them abusing their own girlfriends. The study advocated taking a broader view of such behaviours within dating relationships to explore environments at school, home and community - that affect boys’ lives and actions.

“Until now, we did not have much information on young men who hurt their partners,” said Elizabeth Miller, the study’s co-author and assistant professor of paediatrics at University of California Davis Children’s Hospital.

“This is a critically important piece of the puzzle in terms of designing meaningful prevention and intervention programmes to prevent adolescent relationship violence,” she said, according to University of California release.

Despite multiple studies on the consequences of dating violence for girls, Miller said researchers still lack an understanding of the fundamental social and environmental factors that promote male violence within dating relationships - information that is crucial to guiding its prevention.

For the study, Miller and Reed conducted in-depth interviews with 19 boys, ages 14 to 20, with known histories of perpetrating intimate partner violence and who lived in mostly urban neighborhoods in metropolitan Boston, where Miller worked before moving to Sacramento, California, two years ago.

The researchers identified common themes - from listening to boys who had been referred by their schools or families to an intervention programme for abusive behaviour with girlfriends. They also gathered information from their previous work.

In 2007, Miller and her colleagues completed a survey of 825 Boston-area youth that was designed to assess the prevalence of and factors related to teen dating violence among those who utilise confidential adolescent health clinics. The current study was part of this larger research project on adolescent relationship violence and health.

“We need to design dating violence prevention programmes that meet these young men and women where they are and that speak directly to their needs - emotionally, socially, academically - and literally at the places where they hang out. That might be on a sports field or in a Planned Parenthood clinic,” Miller said.

The study appeared online in the September issue of the American Journal of Men’s Health.

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