Digital Violence and Abuse: A Scoping Review of Adverse Experiences Within Adolescent Intimate Partner Relationships

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2024 Jul;25(3):1954-1965. doi: 10.1177/15248380231201816. Epub 2023 Oct 11.


International research in the past 2 decades has suggested that intimate partner violence among adolescents is a significant public health concern. Both are commonly understood as a pattern of behavior that is intended to establish and maintain control over a partner. Recently, a plethora of digital applications and social networking sites have presented new opportunities for adolescents to initiate, develop, and conduct intimate partner relationships. However, research exploring adverse experiences related to digital interactions in the context of adolescents' intimate partner relations is limited. This scoping review aims to identify and describe the nature and range of difficult experiences in the current published research relating to digital interactions between intimate adolescent partners, from digitalized violence to less severe adverse experiences. Systematic and manual searching resulted in the identification of 1,876 potential articles for inclusion in this review. A total of 18 articles were ultimately included based on the following predefined inclusion criteria. The article must: (a) be an empirical study that has used quantitative, qualitative, mixed, or review methods; (b) include young adolescents and adolescents of 18 years or younger as participants; (c) include accounts of young adolescents and young people's experiences and/or consequences of digital interactions within intimate partner relationships; and (d) be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Examples of less severe experiences could be different kinds of digital harassment, such as electronic intrusiveness, excessive texting, insults, unpleasant messages, and the spreading of rumors. Other adverse experiences related to digital interactions included being controlled by a partner, verbal abuse, experiences of aggression, sexual pressure, and coercion. Common consequences of adverse experiences included emotional and mental health-related difficulties, self-restricting behaviors, relationship difficulties, and risk behaviors.

Keywords: a scoping review; adolescence; cyber dating abuse; digital dating abuse; digital dating violence; intimate partner violence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intimate Partner Violence* / psychology
  • Male
  • Sexual Partners / psychology