They contend that men in patriarchal societies use violence to exert and maintain power and control over women. These experts also maintain that "act" scales do not accurately reflect the nature of violence in intimate relationships because they do not consider the degree of injury inflicted, coercive and controlling behaviors, the fear induced, or the context in which the acts occurred. Studies using "act" scales, they contend, lack information on power and control and emphasize the more common and relatively minor forms of aggression rather than more severe, relatively rare forms of violence in dating and intimate partner relationships. Instead, supporters of this perspective use data on injuries and in-depth interviews with victims and perpetrators.We believe, however, that applying either of these adult perspectives to adolescents is problematic.
Although both views of adult intimate partner violence can help inform our understanding of teen dating violence, it is important to consider how adolescent romantic relationships differ from adult romantic relationships in several key areas.
As a result, practitioners and researchers in the field tend to apply an adult intimate partner violence framework when examining the problem of teen dating violence.
A split currently exists, however, among experts in the adult intimate partner violence arena, and attendees at the DOJ-HHS teen dating workshop mirrored this divide.
One difference between adolescent and adult relationships is the absence of elements traditionally associated with greater male power in adult relationships. Adolescent girls are not typically dependent on romantic partners for financial stability, and they are less likely to have children to provide for and protect. Huebner, "Severe Dating Violence and Quality of Life Among South Carolina High School Students," 19 (2000): 220-227.
The study of seventh, ninth and 11th graders in Toledo, for example, found that a majority of the boys and girls who were interviewed said they had a relatively "equal say" in their romantic relationships. [note 4] National victimization prevalence estimates from a study of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years showed 0.6 percent for boys and 2.7 percent for girls.
In cases in which there was a power imbalance, they were more likely to say that the female had more power in the relationship. These estimates are lower than those from other studies because adolescents who had never been in a relationship were included in the sample (Wolitzky-Taylor, K.
Considered together, the findings from these three studies reveal that frequently there is mutual physical aggression by girls and boys in romantic relationships. Cascardi, "Gender Differences in Dating Aggression Among Multiethnic High School Students," 12 (1997): 546-568. [note 15] Dobash, "The Myth." [note 16] Archer, "Sex Differences." [note 17] Wekerle, C., and D. Wolfe, "Dating Violence in Mid-Adolescence: Theory, Significance, and Emerging Prevention Initiatives," 115 (1994): 197-209.
In 2001-2005, Peggy Giordano and her colleagues at Bowling Green State University interviewed more than 1,300 seventh, ninth and 11th graders in Toledo, Ohio. Wood, "The Emotions of Romantic Relationships: Do They Wreak Havoc on Adolescents?
[ Giordano is one of the authors of this article.] More than half of the girls in physically aggressive relationships said both they and their dating partner committed aggressive acts during the relationship.
Some experts hold that men and women are mutually combative and that this behavior should be seen as part of a larger pattern of family conflict.
Supporters of this view generally cite studies that use "act" scales, which measure the number of times a person perpetrates or experiences certain acts, such as pushing, slapping or hitting.