Teens Who Experience Dating Violence at Increased Risk of Substance Abuse

Teenage girls who experience dating violence are more likely to binge drink compared with their peers who aren’t in abusive relationships, a new study finds. Teen boys who report dating violence are more likely to use marijuana as young adults compared with boys with healthy dating relationships.

The study included more than 5,600 teens who had been in at least one relationship with someone of the opposite sex in 1996. About one-third said they had experienced dating violence, including emotional and physical abuse, WebMD reports.

Five years later, those who experienced dating violence in their teen years were more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors. For girls, those behaviors included smoking, suicidal thoughts and symptoms of depression, in addition to binge drinking. For boys, the unhealthy behaviors included suicidal thoughts and being antisocial, in addition to marijuana use.

Teens who were in physically abusive relationships were two to three times more likely to be in a violent relationship between the ages of 18 and 25, the article notes.

The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

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