One in three US teens have been victims of dating violence, and around the same have committed relationship violence themselves, a new study has found.
"Adolescent dating violence is common among young people. It also overlaps between victimisation and perpetration and appears across different forms of dating abuse," according to Michele Ybarra from the Center for Innovative Public Health Research in California.
Researchers analysed information collected in 2011 and 2012 from 1,058 youths, aged between 14 to 20, in the Growing Up with Media study, a national on-line survey.
The study defines teen dating violence as physical, sexual or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship.
Girls were almost equally likely to be a perpetrator as a victim of violence: 41 per cent reported victimisation and 35 per cent reported perpetration at some point in their lives.
Among boys, 37 per cent said they had been on the receiving end, while 29 per cent reported being the perpetrator, Ybarra said.
Twenty-nine per cent of the girls and 24 per cent of the boys reported being both a victim and perpetrator in either the same or in different relationships.
Girls were significantly more likely than boys to say they had been victims of sexual dating violence and that they had committed physical dating violence. Boys were much more likely than girls to report that they had been sexually violent toward a date.
Experiencing psychological dating violence was about equal for boys and girls. Rates generally increased with age but were similar across race, ethnicity and income levels, according to Ybarra.
"Both boys and girls who engaged in high rates of bullying toward other students at the start of the study were seven times more likely to report being physically violent in dating relationships four years later," said Dorothy L Espelage, of the University of Illinois, principal investigator on the project.
"These findings indicate that bully prevention needs to start early in order to prevent the transmission of violence in dating relationships," said Espelage.
The study was presented at the American Psychological Association's 121st Annual Convention.