Teen Dating Violence Linked to Substance Abuse

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Teens in abusive relationships may be more likely to develop emotional problems and substance abuse issues as they age, a new study suggests.

The study included more than 5,600 12- to 18-year-olds who had been in one or more relationships with someone of the opposite sex back in 1996. Of these, about a third said they had experienced teen dating violence, including emotional and physical abuse.

Participants were asked if they had ever been called names, insulted, or treated disrespectfully by their partner. They were also asked if they had been threatened with violence, pushed, shoved, or had something thrown at them.

Five years later, those who answered yes to any of these questions were more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors. Specifically, girls who reported experiencing dating violence as teens were more likely to binge drink, have symptoms of depression, smoke, and think about killing themselves as young adults, compared with girls who were in healthier relationships.

By contrast, boys who reported dating violence during their teen years were more likely to be antisocial, think about suicide, and use marijuana as young adults than boys who did not report any dating violence or abuse.

Males and females who were in physically abusive relationships as teens were also two to three times more likely to be in violent relationships at ages 18 to 25, the study shows.

The findings appear in Pediatrics.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: WebMD Health News
Denise Mann
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