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Adolescent dating violence and date rape

Rickert, Vaughn I.a; Vaughan, Roger D.a; Wiemann, Constance M.b

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: October 2002 - Volume 14 - Issue 5 - p 495-500
Adult and pediatric gynecology

Purpose of review In this review we intend to examine recent literature on dating violence among female adolescents, including prevalence, risk factors, sequelae, screening practices, and potential interventions.

Recent findings Dating violence is perpetrated by both males and females and occurs frequently within heterosexual dating relationships. Attitudes toward physical aggression, including those of peers, and abuse by siblings predict later violence as victim and perpetrator. Victims of childhood or dating violence may be at greater risk of developing eating disorders. New strategies and measures to promote screening are available.

Summary Dating violence occurs among all groups of adolescents with common and unique risk factors for dating violence found across adolescents grouped by race/ethnicity, sex, and prior victimization. Efforts to decrease dating violence should (1) increase the use of screening tools that measure victimization as well as attitudes and contextual parameters that promote dating violence; (2) increase self-efficacy to negotiate safer sex; (3) reduce the use/abuse of alcohol and other drugs that facilitate dating violence; and (4) eliminate the influence of negative peer behavior. Interventions to prevent dating violence will likely also reduce rates of unintended pregnancies, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents.

aCenter for Community Health and Education, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York and bDepartment of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence to Vaughn I. Rickert, PsyD, Center for Community Health and Education, Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Columbia University/MSPH, 60 Haven Avenue, Suite B-3, Room 306, New York, NY 10032, USA. Tel: +1 212 304 5766; fax: +1 212 304 5209; e-mail:

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.