Early Childhood Predictors of Teen Dating Violence Involvement at Age 17

J Youth Adolesc. 2022 Nov;51(11):2219-2234. doi: 10.1007/s10964-022-01664-8. Epub 2022 Aug 6.


The distal relationship between risk factors in childhood and subsequent dating violence in late adolescence has not often been explored using longitudinal data. This study aims to shed light on the problem of dating violence by examining children's backgrounds at age 7 and the link to the future involvement in dating violence at age 17 using the first and seventh waves of the Zurich Project on the Social Development from Childhood to Adulthood (z-proso, n = 644). The sample consists of 644 multiethnic adolescents (57.14% female, M = 17.47, SD = 0.37), mainly Swiss-born (90%), though more than half of their parents (60%) were born in another country. A latent class analysis was applied to identify three different profiles (a) zero (or minimal) involvement in teen dating violence, (b) perpetrators/victims of controlling behaviors, and (c) perpetrators/victims of controlling behaviors and of physical violence. Participants who were corporally punished and/or victims of bullying at age 7 were significantly more likely to belong to the controlling and physical violence profile than children in the non-violent class. These results suggest a certain chronicity of the effects of violent experiences in early childhood on the patterns of romantic relationships at 17 years old.

Keywords: Dating violence; Longitudinal; Predictors; Risk factors; z-proso.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Aggression
  • Bullying*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime Victims*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Male
  • Young Adult