Keywords: dating violence, adolescent, female, school counseling, mental health counseling, interventions Dating violence, which involves actual or threatened emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse within a dating relationship, has become an increasing concern among counselors working with adolescent populations (Craigen, Sikes, Healey, & Hays, 2009; Hays, Green, Orr, & Flowers, 2007).
Unfortunately, young adolescents may be unaware how to behave in a dating relationship, so they are vulnerable to inaccurate messages from their family of origin, peers and the media (Connolly, Friedlander, Pepler, Craig, & Laporte, 2010).
With respect to family influences, many individuals are socialized that violence is a normal and appropriate response to conflict in intimate family relationships (Hays et al., 2007).
Peers and media also influence behaviors and attitudes.
Research suggests between 50 to 80% of adolescents report knowing friends who were involved in dating violence (Ashley & Foshee, 2005; Halpern, Oslak, Young, Martin & Kupper, 2001; Teen Research Unlimited, 2008).
A majority of research indicates that female and male adolescents are equally likely to experience dating violence (Ackard & Neumark-Sztainer, 2002; Sears, Byers, & Price, 2007; Schnurr & Lohman, 2008).
While both males and females experience dating violence, research suggests violence has a greater impact on females than on males (Cleveland, Herrera, & Stuewig, 2003).
One retrospective study (Draucker, et al., 2010) sought to classify typical violent events within adolescent relationships by interviewing young adults about dating violence experienced between 13 and 18.
Draucker and colleagues (2010) also found that jealousy and relationship threats often led to threatening and controlling events in the future.
Others may believe disclosure would impact their academic performance or lead to disciplinary issues (Moyer & Sullivan, 2008).
Survey data indicate that dating violence prevalence rates range from 21 to 80%, depending on type of violence (Cyr, Mc Duff, & Wright, 2006; Harned, 2002; Holt & Espelage, 2005; Sears & Byers, 2010; Wolitzky-Taylor, Ruggiero, Danielson, Resnick, Hanson, & Smith, 2008).
Dating violence is often under reported because students lack awareness about appropriate dating behaviors (Hays et al., 2007; Lewis & Fremouw, 2001).