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Assess for Date Violence

A new study discovers that although dating violence is relatively common among teens, few child and adolescent psychiatrists consistently screen for the behavior. Dating violence includes verbal and physical violence and forced sex. Study authors recommend for everyone to be attuned to abuse as teens may be hesitant to reveal details on their relationships.

“We found that although most child and adolescent psychiatrists screen for other risk behaviors such as suicide and drug use, only 21 percent screened for dating violence,” says lead author, Larry K. Brown, M.D., of Brown University.

This is important, the authors say, because dating violence is common among teens and over one half of child and adolescent psychiatrists reported identifying it in the past year. One quarter of female adolescents are reported to have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a dating partner.

The study appears in the current issue (2007; 22; 456) of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Dating violence includes verbal and physical violence and forced sex, but studies suggest that spontaneous disclosure of details about romantic relationships are infrequent, so clinicians need to take the lead in initiating this discussion.

“Screening for teen dating violence is everyone’s job,” says Brown; “Teens may not volunteer about an abusive relationship for a variety of reasons, one of them being that they may not even recognize behavior in a partner as aggressive or abusive, and may even view it as a demonstration of love.”

Similar to suicidal behavior, it is impossible for clinicians to use strategies that reduce suicidal behavior unless one identifies it and the frequent co-occurring disorders (such as depression), explains Brown.

“Screening is the first step in identification, diagnosis and proper treatment; it will lead to a reduction in further dating violence and proper treatment for reactions to dating violence that has already happened,” says Brown.

Victims of dating violence can be helped by encouraging them to seek support from families and giving them strategies to avoid violence in the future. In some circumstances, victims and families need to use legal remedies such as restraining orders and assault charges to provide safety, Brown explains. Likewise, identification of perpetrators of dating violence leads to appropriate treatment and support for safety.

The authors also found that screening for dating violence is associated with consistent screening for other risks.

“So screening is something that can be taught and encouraged, and as a result, can further address the growing problem of teen dating violence,” says Brown.

Source: Lifespan

Assess for Date Violence

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Assess for Date Violence. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/04/03/assess-for-date-violence/724.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.