STUDY FINDS 1 IN 5 HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS ABUSED BY DATING PARTNERS
Research published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that one in five high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner, significantly increasing their risk of drug abuse, suicide and other harmful behavior. The data from the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Surveys doesn't indicate whether date violence is a cause of teens engaging in unhealthy behaviors or whether already troubled girls are more likely to date violent partners. The study stems from surveys of 4,163 public school students in Massachusetts, but the authors say the results likely apply to teens nationwide. The study was based on results of statewide surveys given to students in grades nine through 12 in 1997 and 1999. More than 70 percent of the girls who participated were white, about 10 percent were Hispanic and about 6 percent each were black or Asian. It is suspected that the problem may be more widespread than the data suggests, since so few blacks were sampled and previous studies found that blacks were more likely than whites to report such violence.