Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 1083–1099 | Cite as

Lifetime Prevalence Rates and Overlap of Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Dating Abuse Perpetration and Victimization in a National Sample of Youth

  • Michele L. YbarraEmail author
  • Dorothy L. Espelage
  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
  • Josephine D. Korchmaros
  • danah boyd
Original Paper


National, epidemiological data that provide lifetime rates of psychological, physical, and sexual adolescent data abuse (ADA) perpetration and victimization within the same sample of youth are lacking. To address this gap, data from 1058 randomly selected U.S. youth, 14–21 years old, surveyed online in 2011 and/or 2012, were weighted to be nationally representative and analyzed. In addition to reporting prevalence rates, we also examined the overlap of the six types of ADA queried. Results suggested that ADA was commonly reported by both male and female youth. Half (51 %) of female youth and 43 % of male youth reported victimization of at least one of the three types of ADA. Half (50 %) of female youth and 35 % of male youth reported at least one type of ADA perpetration. More male youth reported sexual ADA perpetration than female youth. More female youth reported perpetration of psychological and physical ADA and more reported psychological victimization than male youth. Rates were similar across race and ethnicity, but increased with age. This increase may have been because older youth spent longer time in relationships than younger youth, or perhaps because older youth were developmentally more likely than younger youth to be in abusive relationships. Many youth reported being both perpetrators and victims and/or involved in multiple forms of ADA across their dating history. Together, these findings suggested that interventions should acknowledge that youth may play multiple roles in abusive dyads. Understanding the overlap among ADA within the same as well as across multiple relationships will be invaluable to future interventions aiming to disrupt and prevent ADA.


Teen dating violence Adolescent dating abuse  Adolescence Sexual violence 



This study was supported by grant number 5R01CE001543 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We would like to thank the entire study team from the Center for Innovative Public Health Research (formerly Internet Solutions for Kids), Harris Interactive, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who contributed to the planning and implementation of the study. We thank the families for their time and willingness to participate in this study, Dr. Kathleen Basile for her substantial contributions to earlier drafts, and Ms. Emilie Chen for her contributions to the final draft. An abstract of this paper was presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Honolulu, 2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele L. Ybarra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dorothy L. Espelage
    • 2
  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
    • 3
  • Josephine D. Korchmaros
    • 4
  • danah boyd
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Center for Innovative Public Health ResearchSan ClementeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  3. 3.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA
  4. 4.Southwest Institute for Research on WomenUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  5. 5.Data & SocietyNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Microsoft ResearchNew YorkUSA

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