Risk Markers for Physical Teen Dating Violence Perpetration: A Meta-Analysis

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2021 Jul;22(3):619-631. doi: 10.1177/1524838019875700. Epub 2019 Sep 12.


Teen dating violence (TDV) is a common problem among adolescents and has been linked to various negative outcomes. This study used Dutton's nested ecological theory to examine risk markers for physical TDV perpetration and examine whether there are significant differences in the strength of risk markers between male and female adolescents. This meta-analysis included 37 studies yielding 126 unique effect sizes for risk markers for physical TDV perpetration in samples from the United States. In the microsystem level, a total of 14 risk markers were examined and in the ontogenetic level, 12 risk markers were examined. Our results revealed that, in the microsystem, physical TDV victimization was the strongest risk marker for physical TDV perpetration. On the ontogenetic level, externalizing behaviors, approval of violence, risky sexual behaviors, alcohol use, depression, and delinquency were the strongest risk markers for TDV perpetration. Conflict resolution skills and responsibility were protective markers against TDV perpetration. When comparing the strength of risk markers between males and females, we found that undifferentiated TDV perpetration and depression were significantly stronger risk markers for female perpetration than male perpetration. We also found that exhibiting controlling behaviors was a significantly stronger risk marker for male TDV perpetration than female TDV perpetration. These findings highlight the importance of the microsystem, specifically the dating relationship itself, when identifying adolescents at risk for TDV perpetration.

Keywords: cultural contexts; dating violence; domestic violence; youth violence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence* / psychology
  • Intimate Partner Violence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • United States