Beyond Correlates: A Review of Risk and Protective Factors for Adolescent Dating Violence Perpetration
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- Vagi, K.J., Rothman, E.F., Latzman, N.E. et al. J Youth Adolescence (2013) 42: 633. doi:10.1007/s10964-013-9907-7
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Dating violence is a serious public health problem. In recent years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other entities have made funding available to community based agencies for dating violence prevention. Practitioners who are tasked with developing dating violence prevention strategies should pay particular attention to risk and protective factors for dating violence perpetration that have been established in longitudinal studies. This has been challenging to date because the scientific literature on the etiology of dating violence is somewhat limited, and because there have been no comprehensive reviews of the literature that clearly distinguish correlates of dating violence perpetration from risk or protective factors that have been established through longitudinal research. This is problematic because prevention programs may then target factors that are merely correlated with dating violence perpetration, and have no causal influence, which could potentially limit the effectiveness of the programs. In this article, we review the literature on risk and protective factors for adolescent dating violence perpetration and highlight those factors for which temporal precedence has been established by one or more studies. This review is intended as a guide for researchers and practitioners as they formulate prevention programs. We reviewed articles published between 2000 and 2010 that reported on adolescent dating violence perpetration using samples from the United States or Canada. In total, 53 risk factors and six protective factors were identified from 20 studies. Next steps for etiological research in adolescent dating violence are discussed, as well as future directions for prevention program developers.