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August 28, 2017Recent research has documented the emergence of dating violence behaviors among middle-school-aged youth. Sullivan at Virginia Commonwealth University led a project funded by NIJ in order to better understand dating violence for early identification and development of targeted prevention and intervention strategies.Given that dating violence among this age group has received relatively little attention in the literature, researchers Elizabeth A. Among an ethnically diverse group of middle school students in a mid-sized southern city, about 40 percent of respondents endorsed at least one act of psychological or physical dating violence perpetration, and almost 50 percent reported experiencing one act of psychological or physical dating violence victimization in the past three months.In addition, five different profiles of dating violence emerged: Dating aggression during early adolescence was found to be best measured as a two-factor model that consisted of general dating violence perpetration and victimization, instead of differentiating between forms (e.g., physical, psychological).Accounting for the severity and frequency of specific acts, instead of treating all items as equal contributors, also worked better for measurement.
This project primarily involved a secondary analysis of a five-year project (VCU-YVPC) that collected data on youth violence and related risk factors as part of an evaluation of violence prevention efforts.The VCU-YVPC project was conducted in three middle schools in Richmond, Virginia.Data were collected four times a year (October, January, April, July) from students in sixth-eighth grades over multiple years; students participated until they finished middle school or chose to discontinue participation.Only students with a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past three months during at least one wave were included.