How peer influence can reduce dating violence

New York: Positive peer influences are associated with decreased dating violence, a new study led by an Indian-origin researcher, which looks deeper at risk and protective factors among teenagers who report dating violence and alcohol use, shows.

“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 from the University of Michigan Injury Centre.

Patients ages 14 to 20 that came to the University of Michigan Injury Centre seeking care were asked to complete a survey on alcohol use, peers, mental health and dating violence.

From those survey results, 842 male and female patients reported alcohol misuse, of which nearly one in four 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.

The study found that 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 healthcare providers, but also parents and peers of our youth,” Singh said.

The findings are consistent with other studies associating alcohol use with dating violence.

Findings from the study suggest dating violence interventions should harness the power of positive peer influences among youth, and assess if alcohol use, depression and suicidal ideation are factors that escalate or are coping mechanisms for dating violence.

The study appeared in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.