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The sample involved 236 (52 % female) low-income Latino (69 %) and African American (31 %) youth, their older sisters, and their mothers who were studied when youth were, on average, ages 13 and 18 years. conceived of the study, interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript. The results indicated that early indicators of a risky lifestyle (e.g., getting drunk, having sex) and having deviant friends and siblings were associated with a higher likelihood of subsequent victimization. Read the complete study results in the final grant report, Developmental Pathways of Teen Dating Violence in a High-Risk Sample (pdf, 28 pages) .

Findings from two NIJ-funded studies that focused on high-risk youth highlight the importance of family context in the development of aggression and teen dating violence. D., and her colleagues at the University at Buffalo conducted two studies to examine possible developmental pathways, including family-based risks that contribute to, and protective factors that discourage, involvement in teen dating violence.

In particular, programs that focus on improving parents’ mental health, marital conflict, and parenting skills may prove to be particularly beneficial.

This article is based on research funded under grant 2012-W9-BX-0001 awarded to the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

These studies highlight the importance of the family context in the development of aggression and teen dating violence in high-risk youth and have significant implications for intervention and prevention.

Children of alcoholic parents, given their increased exposure to marital violence and higher risk for other negative outcomes (e.g., aggression, poor self-regulation, substance use), may be especially at risk for involvement in teen dating violence.

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The researchers found that lower maternal acceptance and higher exposure to marital conflict in early adolescence were both independently associated with involvement in teen dating violence.