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Intimate partner violence (IPV) in adolescents is an important realm of study as, in addition to the usual negative effects of abuse, this violence occurs at a critical period in the social and mental development of a person.This is also an important topic from a gender studies perspective as almost 32% of male adolescents engage in some form of violence, whether sexual, physical or emotional, towards their partners while adolescent violence from females is nearly half of that rate.The literature on IPV among adolescents indicates that the rates are similar for the number of girls and boys in heterosexual relationships who report experiencing IPV, or that girls in heterosexual relationships are more likely than their male counterparts to report perpetrating IPV. stated that, unlike domestic violence in general, equal rates of IPV perpetration is a unique characteristic with regard adolescent dating violence, and that this is "perhaps because the period of adolescence, a special developmental state, is accompanied by sexual characteristics that are distinctly different from the characteristics of adult." Wekerle and Wolfe theorized that "a mutually coercive and violent dynamic may form during adolescence, a time when males and females are more equal on a physical level" and that this "physical equality allows girls to assert more power through physical violence than is possible for an adult female attacked by a fully physically mature man." Regarding studies that indicate that girls are as likely or more likely than boys to commit IPV, the authors emphasize that substantial differences exist between the genders, including that girls are significantly more likely than boys to report having experienced severe IPV, such as being threatened with a weapon, punched, strangled, beaten, burned, or raped, and are also substantially more likely than boys to need psychological help or experience physical injuries that require medical help for the abuse, and to report sexual violence as a part of dating violence.They are also more likely to take IPV more seriously. Christopher, "Romance and Violence in Dating Relationships," Journal of Family Issues 4, no. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape (New York: Harper and Row, 1988). Carol Sousa, "The Dating Violence Intervention Project," in Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger, ed. Age of consent is an issue that cannot be ignored in the discussion of teenage dating violence.
Significant research has been done on the causes behind violent behavior in adolescent dating relationships with the intention of guiding the creation of dating violence prevention programs, and in turn has provided findings on the roles of nature and nurture in the development of such behavior with a strong favor towards nurture factors. Kupper, "Partner Violence among Adolescents in Opposite-Sex Romantic Relationships: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health," American Journal of Public Health 91, no. Miller-Johnson, S., Gorman-Smith, D., Sullivan, T., Orpinas, P., Simon, T. Journal fo Clinical Child and Adoelscent Psychology, 38(4), 538 - 550. It is important to note that although male and female adolescents do not differ in "overall frequency of violence in dating relationships," females are subject to "significantly higher levels of severe violence".This fact begs the question of whether abuse should be evaluated based on “severity” and how that can and should be measured, or if all abuse should be considered equally harmful.
Adolescent dating abuse perpetration: A review of findings, methodological limitations, and suggestions for future research. Waldman (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Violent Behavior and Aggression, Cambridge University Press, NY: NY.