Dating in relationship violence
Sexual behavior and aggression can be so deeply intertwined that the legality of underage consensual sex is sure to have an effect on teen dating violence.
Significant research has been done on the causes behind violent behavior in adolescent dating relationships with the intention of guiding the creation of dating violence prevention programs, and in turn has provided findings on the roles of nature and nurture in the development of such behavior with a strong favor towards nurture factors.
Higher testosterone levels “manifests itself in various intensities and forms from; thoughts, anger, verbal aggressiveness, competition, dominance behavior, to physical violence.” A study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism reported, “Testosterone plays a significant role in the arousal of these behavioral manifestations in the brain centers involved in aggression and on the development of the muscular system that enables their realization.
There is evidence that testosterone levels are higher in individuals with aggressive behavior, such as prisoners who have committed violent crimes.” However, the study also noted that many cases of high testosterone levels are disarmed through socialization.
Age of consent is an issue that cannot be ignored in the discussion of teenage dating violence.
Teenage sex is regulated in such a way that "age of consent laws render teenagers below a certain age incapable of consent to sexual activity with adults, and sometimes with peers".
This is also an important topic from a gender studies perspective as almost 32% of male adolescents engage in some form of violence, whether sexual, physical or emotional, towards their partners while adolescent violence from females is nearly half of that rate.
Other research indicates that boys who have been abused in childhood by a family member are more prone to IPV perpetration, while girls who have been abused in childhood by a family member are prone to lack empathy and self-efficacy; but the risks for the likelihood of IPV perpetration and victimization among adolescents vary and are not well understood.
There is a common misconception that aggression is stable over time.
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health examined the potential association between a spectrum of childhood adverse experiences and physical violence in relationships before age 21 for both members.
The subjects were asked questions about violence in their adolescent relationships, as either victim or perpetrator, and their childhood surrounding twelve different adversities: parental death, parental divorce, long-term separation from parent, parental mental illness, parental substance abuse disorder, parental criminality, inter-parental violence, serious physical illness in childhood, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and family economic adversity.
A survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited stated that " percent of teens have been threatened physically via e-mail, IM, text messaging, chat rooms, etc." A 2008 meta-analysis, which examined 62 empirical research studies between 19, relating to domestic violence in heterosexual intimate relationships from adolescence through to adulthood in the United States, reported on research findings that consistently show that adolescent females commit significantly more acts of domestic violence in intimate relationships than adolescent males.