Washington | Positive peer influences are associated with decreased dating violence, according to a new study led by an Indian-origin researcher. The study from the University of Michigan Injury Centre looked deeper at risk and protective factors among teenagers who report dating violence and alcohol use.
Patients ages 14 to 20 that came to the U-M emergency department seeking care were asked to complete a survey on alcohol use, peers, mental health and dating violence. 842 male and female patients reported alcohol misuse, of which nearly 1 in 4 reported past-year dating violence, defined as being either a victim or perpetrator of physical acts such as throwing something, slapping, pulling hair, pushing, shoving, kicking, hitting or punching.
We wanted to understand why dating violence occurs among young adults, so we analysed individual and social factors that might contribute, said lead author Vijay Singh, an U-M Injury Centre researcher. The study analysed individual factors such as: alcohol use, age of onset of drinking, marijuana use, depression, suicidal ideation and number of emergency department visits. Social factors examined included: grades in school, positive peer influences, negative peer influences, parental support, and community activities.
The study found positive peer influences are associated with reduced dating violence. This finding may reflect the importance of peers during adolescence and emerging adulthood. We believe these findings are important not only for health care providers, but also parents and peers of our youth, said Singh. We all have encountered young adults with alcohol and mental health problems, and it’s important to find out if dating violence might be contributing to these health issues, he said.
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