More research is needed to understand why boys are reporting more dating violence.
Washington: Turns out when it comes to teen dating violence, boys are victimised more than girls, a new study reveals.
However, according to the researchers, 5.8 per cent of boys and 4.2 per cent of girls said they had experienced dating violence in the past year.
According to study author Catherine Shaffer, more research is needed to understand why boys are reporting more dating violence.
"It could be that it's still socially acceptable for girls to hit or slap boys in dating relationships. This has been found in studies of adolescents in other countries as well," said Catherine Shaffer.
She added that there is an overall decline in dating violence.
"Young people who experience dating violence are more likely to act out and take unnecessary risks, and they're also more likely to experience depression or think about or attempt suicide. That's why it's good to see that decline in dating violence over a 10-year span. It suggests that healthy relationship programs are making an impact among youth," added Shaffer.
This is the first study in Canada to look at dating violence trends among adolescents over time and the first in North America to compare trends for boys and girls. Researchers analysed data from three B.C. Adolescent Health Surveys involving 35,900 youth in grade 7 to 12 who were in dating relationships.
The findings highlight the need for more support programs for both boys and girls in dating relationships added senior study author Elizabeth Saewyc.
"A lot of our interventions assume that the girl is always the victim, but these findings tell us that it isn't always so. And relationship violence, be it physical, sexual or other forms, and regardless who the perpetrator is, is never OK. Health-care providers, parents and caregivers, schools and others can protect teens from dating violence by helping them define what healthy relationships looks like, even before their first date," said Elizabeth Saewyc.
The study appeared in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.