Skip to main content

Self-concept and Dating Violence in 220 Adolescent Girls in the Child Protective System

Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe the dating violence experiences in a cohort of adolescent girls in the Child Protective System (CPS), and to assess how these experiences relate to their self-concept. A total of 220 adolescent Canadian girls under care of the CPS completed the Offer self-image questionnaire and the revised conflict tactic scales. Results showed that the majority of these girls have experienced some types of victimization in their dating relationships, the least prevalent form being severe injury (24.4%) and the most being minor psychological aggression (81.5%). Data provided here show that the self-concept of teenagers involved in severe violence that includes injury is especially negative. Girls who sustained severe violence with injuries reported more negative overall views of themselves, more problems regulating their emotional tone, more psychopathological symptoms, and lower vocational and educational goals. Implications for prevention initiatives and treatment interventions are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Alvarez, K. M., Donohue, B., Kenny, M. C., Cavanagh, N., & Romero, V. (2005). The process and consequences of reporting child maltreatment: a brief overview for professionals in the mental health field. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10, 311–331.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Archer, J. (1999). Assessment of the reliability of the conflict tactic scales: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14, 1263–1289.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Arias, I., & Pape, K. T. (1999). Psychological abuse: implications for adjustment and commitment to leave violent partners. Violence and Victims, 14, 55–67.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Begovac, I., Rudan, V., Begovac, B., Vidovic, V., & Majic, G. (2004). Self-image, war psychotrauma and refugee status in adolescents. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 13, 381–388.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Blais, M. (2000). Étude sur le développement et l’évaluation préliminaire d’un programme cognitif et comportemental « Entraînement à l’amour-propre » auprès d’adolescentes en centres jeunesse. [Preliminary evaluation of a behavioral-cognitive intervention with adolescent girls in the care of the CPS]. Montreal: Université du Québec à Montréal.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Briere, J., & Jordan, C. E. (2004). Violence against women: outcome complexity and implications for assessment and treatment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, 1252–1276.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Çetin, F. C. (2001). Suicide attempts and self-image among Turkish adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30, 641–651.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. DiLillo, D. (2001). Interpersonal functioning among women reporting a history of childhood sexual abuse: empirical findings and methodological issues. Clinical Psychology Review, 21, 553–576.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Dunlop, R., Burns, A., & Bermingham, S. (2001). Parent-child relations and adolescent self-image following divorce: a 10 year study. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30, 117–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Dutton, M. A., Mitchell, B., & Haywood, Y. (1996). The emergency department as a violence prevention center. The Journal of American Medical Women’s Association, 51, 92–95.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Erkolahti, R., Ilonen, T., Saarijärvi, S., & Terho, P. (2003). Self-image and depressive symptoms among adolescents in a non-clinical sample. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 57, 447–451.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Halpern, C. T., Young, M. L., Waller, M. W., Martin, S. L., & Kupper, L. L. (2004). Prevalence of partner violence in same-sex romantic and sexual relationships in a national sample of adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 35, 124–131.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Harter, S. (1998). The development of self-representations. In W. Damon, & N. Eisenberg (Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology Vol. 3. New York: Sage Publications, pp. 553–618.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hébert, M., Lavoie, F., & Tremblay, R. E. (2004). Child sexual abuse as a risk factor for young women’s experience of partner violence. Proceedings of the 9th Annual meeting of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR), Arlington VA, USA.

  15. Hickman, L. J., Jaycox, L. H., & Aronoff, J. (2004). Dating violence among adolescents: Prevalence, gender distribution, and prevention program effectiveness. Trauma Violence and Abuse, 5, 123–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Katz, J., & Arias, I. (1999). Psychological abuse and depressive symptoms in dating women: do different types of abuse have differential effects? Journal of Family Violence, 14, 281–295.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Korhonen, V., Laukkanen, E., Peiponen, S., Lehtonen, J., & Viinamäki, H. (2001). Effect of major depression on the self-image of adolescent boys and girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30, 697–706.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Lavoie, F., & Vézina, L. (2002). La violence dans les relations amoureuses à l’adolescence [Partner violence in dating relationships of adolescents ]. In Enquête sociale et de santé auprès des enfants et des adolescents québécois 1999 [National Inquiry about children and adolescent’ health 1999], Vol. 21. Québec, Canada: Institut de la statistique du Québec, pp. 471–484.

  19. Lavoie, F., Vézina, L., Gosselin, A., & Robitaille, L. (1994). VIRAJ: Programme de prévention de la violence dans les relations amoureuses des jeunes. Animation en classe [VIRAJ: Prevention program of dating violence experiences of youth]. Québec, Canada: Ministère de l’Éducation.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Manseau, H. (1997). La grossesse en internat: le syndrome de la conception immaculée [Pregnancy in the lives of adolescent girls in the care of the CPS ]. Montreal, PQ: Université du Québec à Montréal/Centre jeunesse de Laval.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Manseau, H., & Blais, M. (2002). Pour une intervention sexologique auprès des victimes d’abus sexuel: fondements et évaluation du programme d’entraînement à l’amour propre [A sexology intervention program for sexual abuse victims]. European Journal of Sexology, 11, 5–12.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Noll, J. G., Horowitz, L. A., Bonanno, G. A., Trickett, P. K., & Putnam, F. W. (2003). Revictimization and self-harm in females who experienced childhood sexual abuse: Results from a prospective study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18, 1452–1471.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Offer, D., Ostrov, E., & Howard, K. I. (1989). The Offer Self-Image Questionnaire for Adolescents: A Manual. Chicago: Micheal Reese Hospital and Medical Center.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Offer, D., Ostrov, E., Howard, K. I., & Atkinson, R. (1988). The Teenage World: Adolescents’ Self-Image in Ten Countries. New York: Plenum Medical Book Company.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Offer, D., Ostrov, E., Howard, K. I., & Atkinson, R. (1990). Normality and adolescence. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 13, 377–388.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Pico-Alfonso, M. A. (2005). Psychological intimate partner violence: The major predictor of posttraumatic stress disorder in abused women. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 29, 181–193.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Pittman, A. -L., Wolfe, D. A., & Wekerle, C. (1998). Prevention during adolescence: The Youth Relationships Project. In J. R. Lutzker (Ed.), Handbook of Child Abuse Research and Treatment. Issues in Clinical Child Psychology (pp. 341–356). New York: Plenum Press.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Plichta, S. B. (2004). Intimate partner violence and physical health consequences: policy and practice implications. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19, 1286–1323.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Scott, K. L., Wolfe, D. A., & Wekerle, C. (2003). Maltreatment and trauma: Tracking the connections in adolescence. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12, 211–230.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Boney-McCoy, S., & Sugarman, D. B. (1996). The revised conflict tactic scales (CTS2). Development and preliminary data. Journal of Family Issue, 17, 283–316.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (1996). Using Multivariate Statistics (3rd edn.), New York: Harper Collins College Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Walker, L. E. (2000). The Battered Woman Syndrome (2nd edn.), New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Whitfield, C. L., Anda, R. F., Dube, S. R., & Felitti, V. J. (2003). Violent childhood experiences and the risk of intimate partner violence in adults: Assessment in a large health maintenance organization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18, 166–185.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the teenagers who participated in the study, as well as the practitioners of the Child Protective Services from Laval and the Laurentian area, in Canada. This research was made possible by grants from the Child Protective Center of Laval.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Delphine Collin-Vézina.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Collin-Vézina, D., Hébert, M., Manseau, H. et al. Self-concept and Dating Violence in 220 Adolescent Girls in the Child Protective System. Child Youth Care Forum 35, 319–326 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-006-9019-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Self-concept
  • Dating violence
  • Child protection
  • Child welfare
  • Adolescent girls
  • Youth in care