Adolescence, the time from 11 - 21 years old, is a time when
many young people learn how to form important relationships with friends,
parents, teachers, and romantic partners.5 During this period of
time, peers play an especially large role in identity formation and in teaching
each other how to behave in social relationships.5,6
This is also an important time for young people to experiment
with different roles within relationships and utilize what works for them.
However, when adolescents enter into romantic relationships
sometimes they are not entirely equipped to practice healthy behaviors. In a
nationwide study conducted by the CDC, it was found that among the 73.9% of students
surveyed nationwide, 10.3% had been harmed on purpose by someone they
were dating. The prevalence of physical dating violence is higher among women
(13.0%) than men (7.4%).1
It’s not only physical violence that
contributes to unhealthy dating behaviors. Verbal violence is common as well.
Undoubtedly, purposeful physical and verbal violence contribute to feelings of
sadness, loneliness, and loss of focus, in other words, depressive symptoms.
In fact, intimate personal violence has been linked to
depressive symptoms and depressive symptoms make teens more susceptible to
entering into unhealthy relationships, in essence, repeating the cycle.2
It is important
to recognize some warning signs where there is potential for a relationship to turn
unhealthy or violent. Some warning signs include:
belittling or name calling
personal space or privacy without permission (Entitlement)3
Instead, here are few signs that one can look for in establishing
healthy, supportive, and caring relationships:
Here is a link to one of our teen intern’s,
Daniella Stewart, video.
Kann, L., PhD, Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S. L. MPH,
Flint, K. H., MA, Hawkins, J., MA…Zaza,
S., MD (2014). Youth Risk
Behavior Surveillance - United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,
63, 4, 2 - 44. Retrieved August 12, 2015 from
2. Johnson, W. L., Giordano, P. C.,
Longmore, M. A., Manning, W. D (2015). Intimate Partner Violence and Depressive Symptoms During Adolescence
and Young Adulthood. J Health Soc Behav.
2014 Mar; 55, 1, 39-55. Retrieved August 12, 2015 from