In addition to the obvious toll on physical and emotional health, dating violence in adolescence tends to lead to less education and lower earnings later in life, according to a Michigan State University researcher.
For example, a partner’s actions such as destroying books or homework or causing injuries that prevent her from going to school can limit a woman’s academic achievement.
The new study, reported in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, reinforces the need for programs and efforts to support victims’ education and career development throughout their lives, said Adrienne Adams, Ph.D., lead researcher on the study.
Adams previously worked in a domestic violence shelter and saw firsthand the economic barriers faced by abuse victims.
“It was woman after woman coming into the shelter trying to find a job and a house she could afford – trying to reestablish life on her own,” Adams said.
“Many women would end up going back to their abusive relationship because they couldn’t make it on their own financially.”
Adams and her fellow researchers analyzed survey data of about 500 single mothers who were, on average, 32 years old and earned less than $7,000 per year. Participants who had been victimized by dating partners as adolescents obtained significantly less education.
Each additional year of education was associated with an extra $855 in earnings — a lot of money when you make less than $7,000, Adams noted.
“There’s vast evidence showing how important education is for people’s quality of life,” Adams said. “Providing educational and career-development support for women who are abused seems like an obvious choice in terms of societal investment.”
The study is apparently the first to investigate the economic effects of dating violence.
Source: Michigan State University