Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 153–165 | Cite as

From abusive household to dating violence

  • John P. Smith
  • Janice G. Williams


Social scientists have theorized about the cycle of domestic violence in family abuse. Little research has addressed dating violence as a consequence to the experience of domestic violence by children. This article deals with the self-reported experience of dating violence by high school students from abusive and nonabusive households. A survey was conducted of 1,353 students in a rural area of North Dakota. Results indicated that students from abusive households showed significantly higher incidence of dating violence than those from homes where no abuse was evident. However, less than one in five of the students from abusive home reported dating violence, providing little support for the cycle of violence hypothesis. Students from abusive homes viewed violence as negatively as students from nonabusive homes. Thus, while there are significant differences between the two groups, there are also important similarities. Although there is apparently a greater risk of dating violence among students who have experienced violence at home, these data do not support the idea of an inescapable pattern of violence among adolescents who have experienced violence themselves.

Key words

abuse child abuse dating violence relationships 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • John P. Smith
    • 1
  • Janice G. Williams
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyClemson UniversityClemson
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyClemson UniversityClemson

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