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Dating Violence Among Child Welfare-Involved Youth: Results from the Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathway (MAP) Longitudinal Study.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Tanaka, Masako.
Wekerle, Christine.
Journal Article
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Objectives: Adolescent dating violence (ADV) is a significant public health issue with associated mental health impairments, such as depression and suicidal ideation. Even though ADV is addressed typically within the education system, it remains under-assessed by clinical service sectors, and not often a direct target of intervention. Little research has tracked dating relationships from adolescence to young adulthood among vulnerable youth. Assessing the level and continuity of relationship violence may be important to systems with protection and well-being mandates. This study examined youth reports of ADV victimization and perpetration among those receiving services from child welfare or Child Protective Services (CPS). Methods: The study randomly selected youth currently involved in the child welfare system in Ontario and followed for assessment at 6, 18, and 24 months. We examined the endorsement of ADV victim and perpetration by gender and CPS service status at baseline (n=341), as well as by using longitudinal data (n=110). Results: The prevalence and scores for ADV perpetration and victimization were similar across genders. Only among males, youth in CPS services, other than those living in foster care, had increased ADV perpetrator, as well as, victim scores, as compared to males in foster care. Over the two-year follow-up period, 33.6% of dating youth did not ever engage in ADV, while 46.4% of youth reported ADV at two time points or more. A minority of youth (9.1%) reported being in an ADV relationship across all four assessment points. Conclusions and Implications: Violence in adolescent relationships is an experience for many youths receiving child welfare services. About a third, though, had dating experiences that were not reported to include verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Further studies examining ADV risks and relationship resilience features among CPS-involved youth across the adolescent years remains a research need. (Author abstract)

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