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Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that stressful life events are associated with the perpetration of intimate partner violence among adults, but little attention has been given to the relationship between stressful life events and adolescent dating abuse, a prevalent form of violence that results in serious and long-lasting consequences. The current study addresses this gap by examining associations between family-, peer-, school-, and health-related stressful life events and the perpetration of both psychological and physical forms of dating abuse in a sample of 1,125 adolescents (54.6 % female, 18 % Black), and determining whether these associations are moderated by attributes of the family (closeness to parent) and the adolescent (sex and self-esteem). The total number of stressful events and school-related events were positively associated with the perpetration of psychological dating abuse and family-related events were related to the perpetration of psychological dating abuse for boys, but not girls. Closeness to parent buffered the effect of stressful health-related events on the perpetration of physical dating abuse, but exacerbated the effect of stressful family-related events on the perpetration of physical dating abuse. Health-related events were associated with physical perpetration for those with high, but not low self-esteem. Finally, the total number of stressful events and family-related events were related to the perpetration of physical dating abuse by boys, but not by girls. Taken together, these findings suggest that stressful life events play an important role in adolescent dating abuse, and should be taken into consideration when developing adolescent dating abuse prevention programs.
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- Stressful Life Events and the Perpetration of Adolescent Dating Abuse
May S. Chen
Vangie A. Foshee
- Springer US