Non-physical abuse by a dating partner such as threats, controlling behavior and harassing text messages can have a serious effect on a teenager’s health and well-being, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.
The study, which appears in the research journal BMC Public Health, is one of the first to examine the effects of both physical and non-physical dating abuse that is relevant to today’s highly connected adolescents.
While physical and sexual violence significantly affected the health and behavior of adolescents aged 13-19, non-physical abuse such as stalking through text messages or email also had a considerable effect, said Amy Bonomi, lead researcher on the study and chairperson and professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
“Often an argument in society is that abuse that is not physical or sexual really doesn’t matter,” Bonomi said. “Is it really harmful, for example, if I call my partner a bad name? Or if I’m harassing or stalking them with text messages? Well, we’ve shown that it does have a negative effect on health.”
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