Prevalence, Gender and Age Differences of Dating Aggression Among Italian Adolescents
The present study represents an effort to expand and deepen the scant literature on Adolescent Dating Aggression (ADA) within the Italian context; adolescent dating aggression is a public health issue of interest due to its increasing frequency among adolescents. The prevalence of verbal-emotional and physical ADA was examined as well as gender and age differences in a sample of Italian adolescents. Participants included 436 adolescents (47.7% males; 52.3% females) living in northern Italy, aged 16 to 18 years (M = 17.11). Participants completed the Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationships Inventory measuring abusive behaviors between adolescent dating partners. Non-parametric analyses were computed. Verbal-emotional ADA perpetration and victimization were much more common than physical ADA perpetration and victimization. Females reported higher levels of verbal-emotional and physical ADA perpetration than males. To fully investigate gender differences single behaviors were analyzed and described. Finally, age differences emerged only for perpetrated verbal-emotional abuse with such aggression being highest at age 18. This research suggests that in order to prevent the onset of dating aggression in teens in northern Italy, prevention programs may need to begin earlier than previously provided in junior high school. Another core conclusion is that physical aggression against partners is a problem for both males and females, thus intervention for the empowerment of interpersonal skills are needed.