Boys Victims of Dating Violence, Too Survey of 'at risk' teens finds males as likely as females to suffer abuse Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional. The study focused on teens considered to be at high risk for dating violence -- those who had suffered or witnessed violence at home or in their neighborhoods.
It turned out that boys were about as likely as girls to say they'd been victims of some form of dating violence. The pattern was also corroborated by girls' reports: They commonly admitted to being perpetrators. A number of national surveys have found that U. But the new study conflicts with those findings, said lead researcher Dennis Reidy, of the division of violence prevention at the U.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Regardless, he added, the study points out that boys can be victims, too. The findings are based on more than 1, kids ages 11 to 17 who were surveyed about a wide range of dating violence. They were asked not only about physical abuse, but also how often they'd been sexually victimized -- including having a boyfriend or girlfriend pressure them to have sex, or spread "sexual rumors" about them.
The researchers also asked about psychological and emotional abuse -- like being yelled at, threatened or called names. Overall, almost 11 percent of boys said they'd been physically abused by a dating partner at least three times. That compared with slightly less than 8 percent of girls. And a similar percentage of girls and boys -- around 4 percent -- said they'd been injured.
When it came to psychological abuse, 29 percent of boys and almost 34 percent of girls said they'd been victimized at least three times. Slightly more than 14 percent of boys and 12 percent of girls said they'd been sexually victimized that many times.
The findings on sexual victimization might sound particularly surprising, Reidy said. But, he added, it may relate to the survey questions, which asked about sexual "coercion," rather than rape.
The researchers found that some patterns varied by age. Older girls tended to report more sexual victimization than boys, for example. They also admitted inflicting physical injuries on a dating partner more often than older boys did. But Swahn said it's not clear what to make of those patterns, since the study did not follow kids over time. But for now, he said, adults need to be aware that dating violence affects girls and boys -- and it starts at an early age.
Schools are probably the best place to reach kids, Reidy said. And parents, of course, have a "big role," he added. They can talk to their kids about how to manage romantic relationships, and try to be good role models in their own behavior.
But for kids from violent homes or neighborhoods, school and community programs can be crucial. But he stressed that the study findings don't mean only disadvantaged kids suffer or perpetrate dating violence.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on teen dating violence.