Purpose of review
Adolescent relationship abuse (ARA) involves a range of coercive and violent behaviours in romantic or consensual relationships. ARA is prevalent and is associated with multiple poor reproductive and sexual health outcomes, especially for adolescent girls.
Recent studies and reviews of ARA research point to the prevalence of ARA, health consequences of ARA and the contribution of social and cultural norms to ARA perpetration, all of which can inform how to address ARA more effectively with adolescents. Emerging research on reproductive and sexual coercion among adolescents and technology-based abuse is directly relevant to the reproductive and sexual healthcare of adolescents.
Current findings underscore the extent to which young, reproductive-aged women may particularly benefit from more effective methods to address ARA. In line with recent American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendations, clinicians should assess for and counsel their adolescent female patients about how ARA and reproductive and sexual coercion may influence adolescent girls’ reproductive health. Recent evidence also highlights that ARA manifests in ways that may be less recognizable to clinicians, such as cyber dating abuse. Finally, ARA prevention and intervention efforts should continue to promote gender equity and address the social and cultural norms that shape adolescent girls’ experiences of abuse.