Increase in violence in adolescent relationships

Many young people experience border crossings and violence

In their first love relationships, adolescents are often confronted with difficult, cross-border behavior and violence, according to a recent study by the Fulda University of Applied Sciences. Such experiences can, according to the researchers, "influence the potential to develop a mutually respectful relationship as adults" and in general "violence in childhood and adolescence is a risk factor for violence in the partnership as adults."

In the study “Crossing Boundaries and Violence in Love Relationships and Dates of Hessian Schoolchildren Between 14 and Under 18 Years”, the research team led by Prof. Dr. Beate Blättner interviewed schoolchildren at nine general and one vocational school. However, of the almost 3,200 students who attended these schools, they were only able to take into account 509, as there was no parental consent form for the rest. Of the 509 questionnaires that the students completed, 47 could not be used due to incorrect information, so that the results of the study are based on the information provided by 462 students (271 girls and 191 boys). According to the researchers, the average age of the adolescents interviewed was 15.3 years.

Ten percent of young people experience violence in their relationship
Almost 77 percent (181 students; 173 students) of those surveyed already had experience with first dates or relationships. In their relationships, around 66 percent of these students and 60 percent of the students experienced “some form of border crossing or violence” at least once, according to the latest study. According to the researchers, this corresponds to a share of around 50 percent of the total sample among girls and 45 percent among boys. "Such experiences were mostly made for the first time in the 8th and 9th grades," report Prof. Blättner and colleagues. The most common form of crossing borders is verbal aggression and threats. However, 26 percent of girls with relationship experience and 12.7 percent of boys reported at least one sexual border crossing or violence. Around ten percent each were directly victims of violence in their relationship. "6 percent of the girls and 1.7 percent of the boys were forced to perform unwanted sexual acts by force," the researchers write.

Preventive measures required
According to the current study results, the first relationship confronts many adolescents with extremely unpleasant experiences, which can often be accompanied by a significant impairment of well-being, but also by lack of learning and concentration. The scientists at Fulda University of Applied Sciences come to the conclusion that their study shows the need for preventive measures. On the one hand, the young people could be taught where their own limits lie and, on the other hand, how to treat each other with respect. "These measures are also important to prevent further chronification of violence," the researchers concluded. (fp)

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