Abstract: Systematic Review of Adolescent Dating Violence Outcomes Among Youth Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

Systematic Review of Adolescent Dating Violence Outcomes Among Youth Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Supreme Court, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Kylie Evans, MSW, Doctoral Student, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Hyunjune Lee, MSW, Doctoral student, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Katie Russell, MSSA, Doctoral student, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Megan Holmes, PhD, Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Kristen Berg, PhD, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Anna Bender, MSW, Doctoral Candidate, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Dana Prince, PhD, Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Background: Among children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV), biopsychosocial outcomes vary significantly by developmental stage. For adolescents, dating violence presents an outcome of particular concern, given youths’ nascent opportunities for romantic exploration and their growing individuation from the nuclear family. This systematic review seeks to synthesize empirical studies examining adolescent dating violence (ADV) outcomes among youth exposed to IPV. Three aims were established: 1) Identify ADV victimization and perpetration outcomes in adolescents exposed to IPV, 2) Identify explanatory mechanisms reported to link IPV exposure with ADV outcomes, 3) Examine methodological factors that influence synthesis across results.

Methods: This review constitutes one component of a larger systemic review on IPV exposure and child outcomes across several domains of functioning. Seven bibliographic databases were searched for peer-reviewed articles published through December 2016.Inclusion criteria included the following: (a) outcomes measured in participants aged birth - 18 years, (b) experimental or quasi-experimental design, including comparison group, (c) use of validated or reliable scale(s), or biological outcome data. Studies using adult retrospective reports, studies unavailable in English, and dissertations/theses were excluded. Two research assistants (RA) independently coded each citation for inclusion/exclusion, with a doctoral-level RA reconciling discrepancies. 336 studies were identified for inclusion in the larger systematic review. Housed under social outcomes as a subcategory, 18 ADV victimization and/or perpetration publications met criteria for this review. 

Results: Results are summarized according to this review’s three primary aims. First, the majority of ADV victimization studies (71%) reported increased victimization among heterosexual IPV-exposed youth, as compared to non-exposed peers. Perpetration outcomes were more variable, and were influenced by factors such as the type of violence, gender of the adolescent, and gender of the perpetrating parent. Second, explanatory mechanisms linking IPV exposure and ADV were identified, including gender, mental health symptoms, beliefs about violence, and emotion regulation. Lastly, studies were assessed for adherence to the following methodological recommendations: continuous measurement of IPV, measurement of exposure to multiple forms of IPV, use of multiple informants, accounting for other forms of child maltreatment, and longitudinal design. Overall, measurement was inconsistent across studies, although nearly half of studies adhered to at least one methodological recommendation.

Conclusions: Findings deepen our understanding of the intergenerational cycle of violence, illustrating that although some IPV-exposed adolescents experience increased risk for ADV, many do not perpetuate such violence in their dating relationships. Results highlight a number of limitations in the literature on dating outcomes in this population, including an absence of studies examining factors associated with healthy dating trajectories, a lack of studies on sexual minority youth, and lack of attention to developmental differences in dating relationships across early, middle, and late adolescence. Future research and practice recommendations include asset-based study of healthy relationship patterns in IPV-exposed youth, gender-specific prevention models that attend to belief systems and emotion regulation, and enhanced measurement precision and design rigor.