Culture youth ministry

Long-term effects of violence in teenage dating

Teenage dating can be really innocent and really violent. As a parent, how do you know the difference?I spotted a story about teenage dating on the main page of USA Today this weekend. A recent study showed a connection between violence in teen dating and the long-term impact on these individuals adult relationships.

Here’s the highlights:

When researchers analyzed data from the same young adults five years later, they found notable differences:

  • Girls victimized by a teen boyfriend reported more heavy drinking, smoking, depression and thoughts of suicide.
  • Boys who had been victimized reported increased anti-social behaviors, such as delinquency, marijuana use and thoughts of suicide.
  • Those of both sexes who were in aggressive relationships as teens were two to three times more likely to be in violent relationships as young adults.


Last week, I quoted another study about a link found between “hooking up” and depression. (Here’s a conversation that was started as a result) With the data from this study, it seems as though a case could be made against unmonitored casual dating among teenagers. (By unmonitored I simply mean that sometimes parents tune out and are relatively uninvolved as a third-party in the dating life of their teenager.) The simple reality is that if they are sexually active with someone casually or if they find themselves in a controlling and/or abusive dating relationship, the cost is quite high both now and in the future. In other words, parents need to be all up in the dating lives of their teenage kids even though its uncomfortable. 

This study brings up some teaching points for your next parents meeting.

  • Emotional and physical boundaries in dating relationships.
  • Warning signs that their relationship might be controlling or even abusive.
  • How you handle relationships in your ministry.
  • Signs of a healthy adolescent relationship.

Idea: Partner with a local counselor and create a community-wide parent meeting exploring some of the latest research of teenage sexuality. You know, Good News to parents in your neighborhood. 

Culture youth ministry

A link found between adolescent hook-ups & depression

From a paper published in September, 2012.

Depression and Adolescent Sexual Activity in Romantic and Nonromantic Relational Contexts: A Genetically-Informative Sibling Comparison

Results indicated that adolescent dating, in and of itself, was not associated with depressive symptoms. The association between depressive symptoms and sexual activity with a romantic partner was fully accounted for by between-family genetic and shared environmental confounds. In contrast, sexual activity with a nonromantic partner was significantly associated with both mean levels of depressive symptoms and clinically severe depression, even within sibling dyads. This relationship was greater for younger adolescents (<15 years). These results are consistent with a growing body of research demonstrating that relationship contexts may be critical moderators of the psychosocial aspects of adolescent sexual experiences.


Not surprising for anyone working with teenagers. Does the above statement surprise you in any way?