Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 358–375 | Cite as

Prevalence and Correlates of the Perpetration of Cyber Dating Abuse among Early Adolescents

  • Melissa F. PeskinEmail author
  • Christine M. Markham
  • Ross Shegog
  • Jeff R. Temple
  • Elizabeth R. Baumler
  • Robert C. Addy
  • Belinda Hernandez
  • Paula Cuccaro
  • Efrat K. Gabay
  • Melanie Thiel
  • Susan Tortolero Emery
Empirical Research


Much is known about the prevalence and correlates of dating violence, especially the perpetration of physical dating violence, among older adolescents. However, relatively little is known about the prevalence and correlates of the perpetration of cyber dating abuse, particularly among early adolescents. In this study, using a predominantly ethnic-minority sample of sixth graders who reported ever having had a boyfriend/girlfriend (n = 424, 44.2 % female), almost 15 % reported perpetrating cyber dating abuse at least once during their lifetime. Furthermore, using a cross-sectional design, across multiple levels of the socio-ecological model, the individual-level factors of (a) norms for violence for boys against girls, (b) having a current boyfriend/girlfriend, and (c) participation in bullying perpetration were correlates of the perpetration of cyber dating abuse. Collectively, the findings suggest that dating violence interventions targeting these particular correlates in early adolescents are warranted. Future studies are needed to establish causation and to further investigate the relative importance of correlates of the perpetration of cyber dating abuse among early adolescents that have been reported among older adolescents.


Cyber abuse Dating violence Technology Adolescents Perpetration 



The authors thank Lionel Santibáñez for his editorial assistance.

Authors’ Contributions

MFP conceived the study, participated in the design and implementation of the project, participated in interpretation of data, and drafted the manuscript. CMM, RS, and JRT participated in the design of the study and assisted with development of measures. ERB and RCA performed statistical analyses and data management, respectively. BH and PC participated in the implementation of the study. EKG helped to draft the manuscript. MT coordinated the study. STE participated in the design of the project. All authors read and approved the manuscript.


This study was supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1R01CE002135). Registration at is forthcoming.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa F. Peskin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christine M. Markham
    • 1
  • Ross Shegog
    • 1
  • Jeff R. Temple
    • 2
  • Elizabeth R. Baumler
    • 1
  • Robert C. Addy
    • 1
  • Belinda Hernandez
    • 1
  • Paula Cuccaro
    • 1
  • Efrat K. Gabay
    • 1
  • Melanie Thiel
    • 1
  • Susan Tortolero Emery
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral SciencesThe University of Texas School of Public Health at HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyThe University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) HealthGalvestonUSA

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