What to do for dating violence
One limitation of the study is that researchers relied on students to honestly report any experiences with teen dating violence, which may not provide a reliable picture, the researchers note.
Still, it’s clear that prevention takes more than a classroom lecture, said Dr.
Elizabeth Miller of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
“Young people live in social networks that are nested within schools and communities,” Miller, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
The goal of the program, called "Dating Matters," is to give young people, their families and their communities prevention strategies to help prevent teen dating violence. Many prevention programs target older teens, and often involve high school students being lectured in health classes.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (bit.ly/2WNLxw D), focuses on teaching 11-to-14 year-olds healthy relationship skills before they start dating and on reducing behaviors that increase the risk for dating violence like substance abuse and sexual risk-taking.
Teen dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.“These skills include conflict resolution, healthy communication, and social and emotional skills, in addition to recognizing characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships,” Niolon said by email.“Dating Matters also teaches parents the importance of being health and relationship educators for their kids, and starting conversations about healthy relationships before they start dating.” Young people who participated in the Dating Matters program in the current study didn’t appear any less likely to engage in positive relationship behaviors than middle school students at schools without the program, researchers report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.Dating Matters is a comprehensive teen dating violence prevention model that builds upon current evidence-based practice to promote respectful, nonviolent dating relationships among youth.
Three components of Dating Matters are currently available on CDC’s Veto Violence website.
But as the relationship grows, violent patterns like these can emerge and intensify.