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Relationship Violence In And Before College

Anna Sophia McKenney -- Several life chances occur in the transition from living at home to the college environment. Combined with a strong desire for peer acceptance and a new environment, this transition could increase the vulnerability of adolescents to relationship violence and abuse, both before and during college.

Violence is common between partners, friends, and acquaintances both before and during college, according to a study released on July 7, 2008 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Several life chances occur in the transition from living at home to the college environment, including a significant decrease in parental monitoring, a modified social support system, relative isolation. Combined with a strong desire for peer acceptance and a new environment, this transition could increase the vulnerability of adolescents to relationship violence and abuse. Investigating this transition could provide valuable information for support systems either before or after the college transition period.

This study, led by Christine M. Forke, M.S.N., C.R.N.P., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, examined students at three urban college campuses. A total 910 undergraduates were canvassed regarding whether and when they had experienced physical, emotional, or sexual violence in a relationship. This was used in conjunction with demographic information collected, including sex, age, race, and the length of time they had been in school to report several conclusions.

First, it was clear that it [sic] students were more frequently involved in relationship violence before college than after college; this included participation as a perpetrator or as a victim. Of the total number surveyed, 44.7% (407) students had experienced this abuse either before or during college. This group included 42.1% (383) who were victims and 17.1% (156) who reported that they had perpetrated the abuse. Before college, 21.1% of violent acts were emotional, making this type of violence more common than physical or sexual violence. In contrast, in college, sexual and emotional violence were equally common, making up 12% and 11.8% respectively.

Males and females were both involved in abuse. In general, sexual violence perpetrators were more often male, while physical violence perpetrators were usually women. When examining victimization, 53% of the women and 27.2% of men reported being the recipient of the violent acts. Violence also varied with the relationship of the involved parties: with 130 of the 227 reports, more than half of college violence experienced was between partners, rather than friends or acquaintances.

The most common type of violence that occurred was emotional. The authors indicate that this area of abuse should be a higher priority issue in interventions. "While emotional abuse frequently is not a focus of violence prevention, it can cause poor outcomes and may predispose victims to other forms of violence. Therefore, educational efforts focusing on healthy relationships should begin during childhood."

According to the authors, this is a clear indication that all types of relationship violence is prevalent among these groups of students at some time: "In conclusion, all forms of relationship violence are prevalent among male and female college students; almost half of the students had experienced relationship violence at some point in their lives, more than one-third had experienced violence before college and one-quarter had experienced violence during college."

"Relationship Violence Among Female and Male College Undergraduate Students"
Christine M. Forke; Rachel K. Myers; Marina Catallozzi; Donald F. Schwarz
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162[7]:634-641. Click Here For Journal

Source: Medical News Today

© 2008 Medical News Today

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