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Traditional Dating Abuse Ups Risk of Cyberdating Abuse

Traditional Dating Abuse Ups Risk of Cyberdating Abuse

New research reveals that teens who are involved in dating abuse as either perpetrator or victim are more likely to also be involved in cyberdating abuse.

Investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston discovered that teens who commit cyberdating violence against their partners are more likely to later be victimized by it and cyberviolence victims are more likely to later perpetrate this act.

The findings are available online at the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

“While researchers have explored teens’ use of technology to perpetrate dating violence, little is known about how traditional in-person and cyberabuse are linked, and this is the first study to examine their relationship over time,” said lead researcher Dr. Jeff Temple, an associate professor at UTMB.

Teenagers are “digital natives” and are more likely than any other age group to use technology to communicate, ensuring virtually constant access to their peers.

Although there are benefits to teens having such close connections with their peers, prior research suggests that this lack of privacy may contribute to unhealthy relationship behaviors.

The popularity of text messaging, social media, and Internet use among teens may create opportunities for cyberdating abuse, including monitoring, controlling, harassing, or otherwise abusing a dating partner via technology.

Researchers collected information from 1,042 high school students as a part of an ongoing six-year study of teen health in several public schools in Texas. Researchers analyzed whether being involved in any form of dating abuse as either the perpetrator or the victim predicted involvement in cyberdating abuse over the following year.

Study results indicate that teens involved in cyberdating abuse both commit and fall victim to it. In other words, teens victimized by cyberdating abuse are also likely to commit cyberdating abuse over the next year and those who perpetrate cyberdating abuse tend to be victimized by the same behaviors.

Also, teens who were the victim of either cyber or traditional dating abuse were likely to be victimized by cyberdating abuse within the following year. Similarly, teens who commit traditional dating abuse are likely to commit cyberdating abuse in the future.

“These findings highlight the connections between traditional and cyberdating abuse perpetration and victimization among teens and further suggest that the line separating teens online and offline relationships is becoming increasingly blurred,” Temple said.

“It’s important for parents, teachers, and healthcare providers to be aware that victims of cyberdating abuse may be experiencing other forms of dating abuse as well. Speaking with teens about their online behaviors could provide some insight into their other relationship behaviors.”

Temple said that prevention efforts should focus on helping adolescents understand healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors as they relate to face-to-face and technological interactions.

Source: The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Traditional Dating Abuse Ups Risk of Cyberdating Abuse

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. (2018). Traditional Dating Abuse Ups Risk of Cyberdating Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 4 Dec 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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