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Yet there is not a great deal of research that uses a longitudinal perspective or that considers the dynamics of teen romantic relationships. Although most research tends to indicate that more severe forms of physical violence are disproportionately experienced by girls, this is not a universal finding (O'Leary, K. [note 6] Giordano, P., "Recent Research on Gender and Adolescent Relationships: Implications for Teen Dating Violence Research/ Prevention," presentation at the U. Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice Workshop on Teen Dating Violence: Developing a Research Agenda to Meet Practice Needs, Crystal City, Va., December 4, 2007.
As a result, practitioners and researchers in the field tend to apply an adult intimate partner violence framework when examining the problem of teen dating violence.
Considered together, the findings from these three studies reveal that frequently there is mutual physical aggression by girls and boys in romantic relationships. Cascardi, "Gender Differences in Dating Aggression Among Multiethnic High School Students," 12 (1997): 546-568. [note 15] Dobash, "The Myth." [note 16] Archer, "Sex Differences." [note 17] Wekerle, C., and D. Wolfe, "Dating Violence in Mid-Adolescence: Theory, Significance, and Emerging Prevention Initiatives," 115 (1994): 197-209.
In 17 percent of the participating couples, only the girls perpetrated physical aggression, and in 4 percent, only the boys were perpetrators. The findings suggest that boys are less likely to be physically aggressive with a girl when someone else can observe their behavior. Neumark-Sztainer, "Long-Term Impact of Adolescent Dating Violence on the Behavioral and Psychological Health of Male and Female Youth," 8 (2002): 1332-1363. This finding was at odds with what practitioners attending the workshop said they encounter in their professional experience.Most of the practitioners in attendance — representing national organizations, schools and victim service community-based agencies — said that they primarily see female victims, and when they discuss teen dating violence with students, they hear that boys are the primary perpetrators. Because teen dating violence has only recently been recognized as a significant public health problem, the complex nature of this phenomenon is not fully understood.In that 2007 survey, 66 percent of boys and 65 percent of girls who were involved in physically aggressive relationships reported mutual aggression. Twenty-eight percent of the girls said that they were the sole perpetrator; 5 percent said they were the sole victim. These numbers were reversed for the boys: 5 percent said they were the sole perpetrator; 27 percent the sole victim.
[ Giordano is one of the authors of this article.] More than half of the girls in physically aggressive relationships said both they and their dating partner committed aggressive acts during the relationship.