Prevalence, dynamic risk factors and the efficacy of primary interventions for adolescent dating violence: An international review

E. Leen, E. Sorbring, M. Mawer, Emma Holdsworth, B. Helsing, Erica Bowen

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    169 Citations (Scopus)


    Adolescent dating violence is a pressing international issue: yet, there have been few attempts to collate the international evidence regarding this phenomenon. This article reviews contemporary evidence from Europe and North America on prevalence, dynamic risk factors, and the efficacy of intervention programs for adolescent dating violence. Prevalence findings suggest that victimization rates are comparable across Europe and North America. Although individual studies report differing prevalences, the overall hierarchy of violence types – in which psychological/emotional violence is most and sexual violence least prevalent – is consistent across almost all investigations. Four dynamic risk factors for perpetration are identified: peer influence, substance use, psychological adjustment and competencies, and attitudes towards violence. Peer influences and attitudes towards violence appear to be the most extensively evidenced factors in the literature. Nine existing intervention programs are identified, all located within North America. Intervention results are mixed, with some evaluations reporting significant long-term benefits while others report positive intervention effects dissipate throughout follow-up. Tentative analysis suggests that programs focused on behavioral change may elicit sustainable effects more readily. However, this is difficult to ascertain with no data on program repetitions and variations across intervention pedagogy and sample. Concerns with existing research and interventions and possible future directions are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159–174
    JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Adolescent dating violence
    • Violence prevalence
    • Violence risk factors
    • Violence intervention program
    • Domestic violence
    • Literature review


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