CDC Reports Prevalence of Dating Violence in High School Students
Programs that promote the prevention of dating violence should address risk factors associated with victimization and help educate high school students about healthy behaviors within dating relationships. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey to determine the prevalence of dating violence among high school students. The report, “Physical Dating Violence Among High School Students—United States, 2003,” was published in the May 19, 2006, issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The study showed that 9 percent of the 14,956 high school students who were surveyed had been victims of physical dating violence, and one in 11 high school students reported being a victim within the previous 12 months.
Thirty-four percent of all participants were currently sexually active; 9 percent had attempted suicide; 28 percent drank heavily; and 33 percent had been involved in physical fighting. The survey found that students who were victims of dating violence were more likely to engage in these risky behaviors compared with students who had never experienced dating violence. Additionally, 14 percent of students with self-reported grades of D’s and F’s experienced physical dating violence victimization compared with only 6 percent of students with self-reported grades of A’s.
Appropriate intervention, such as referral for counseling, is more likely if physicians ask teenage patients about their dating behaviors. Therefore, family physicians should be aware of the prevalence of dating violence and appropriately address the associated risky behaviors in teenagers to help prevent further instances of violence.