Dating Abuse Among Students
Research Findings

Start Strong Study - 7th Graders

A study of 1,430 7th-grade students reveals that many are dating and experiencing physical, psychological and electronic dating violence. 75% of students surveyed have had a boyfriend or girlfriend.

In the 6 months before the survey, students reported:

  • more than 1 in 3 was a victim of psychological dating violence
  • nearly 1 in 6 was a victim of physical dating violence
  • nearly 1 in 3 was a victim of electronic dating aggression
  • more than 1 in 3 witnessed boys or girls being physically violent to persons they were dating
  • nearly 2 out of 3 strongly agree with a harmful gender stereotype, such as “girls are always trying to get boys to do what they want them to do,” or “with boyfriends and girlfriends, the boy should be smarter than the girl.”
  • nearly half were victims of sexual harassment, such as being “touched, grabbed, or pinched in a sexual way,” or the subject of sexual jokes
  • nearly 3 in 4 “sometimes or often” talk with their parents about dating topics such as “how to tell if someone might like you as a boyfriend or girlfriend.”

This study, released in March 2012, was conducted by RTI International on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Blue Shield of California Foundation as part of an independent evaluation of their Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships (Start Strong) initiative.

Love Is Not Abuse Poll - College Students

A survey of dating college students shows dating abuse is more common than people believe:

  • nearly half experienced violent or abusive dating behaviors
  • more than 1 in 5 report actual physical abuse, sexual abuse or threats of physical violence
  • more than 1 in 3 say they would not know how to get help on campus if they found themselves in an abusive relationship.

Knowledge Networks conducted the survey, “Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll.”