Similar numbers of both sexes say they've been abusers.
Additional new research shows teens who abuse their girlfriends and boyfriends often share a past as middle-school bullies.
When you look at serious sexual and severe physical assault, we tend to see a bit more from the boys than the girls."Dorothy Espelage, a researcher at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, says, "Without measures of fear, severity and injury, we need to be cautious" about interpreting the new nationwide survey results.
Espelage worked on the survey with Ybarra and on another study to be presented today which shows links between middle school bullying and teen dating violence.
Both behaviors are often "about establishing dominance," she says.
But as they seek to understand why so many young people hit, demean or force sex on their partners, much remains unclear.
One big question: Are boys and girls really equally at risk to become victims or abusers?
The results suggest there is a "violence trajectory" and "if it's not addressed, it will escalate."While programs at school and elsewhere in communities may help, families can play a central role.
In his own survey of 1,525 Latino youths ages 12 to 18, Cuevas says he found that boys with the strong family support "typical in traditional Latino culture" were less likely to psychologically abuse dates.