Teaching teens about relationships can curb dating violence

New York, March 3 (IANS) Teens indoctrinated in relationship issues have lower tolerance for aggression and dating violence, says a recent study which observed that healthier dating attitudes can be acquired after even a brief involvement in an anti-violence curriculum.

Researchers in the US found that even five lessons from a community-based dating violence prevention programme can effect changes in student attitudes and behaviours.

Teen dating violence refers to emotional, verbal, sexual, or physical abuse used by one person over another when one or both of the partners is a teenager.

“Adolescent dating violence is a huge problem in the United States and schools are being urged to address this issue,” said Meredith C. Joppa from Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center in the US.

“Some states have even legislated this type of training. Given the limited time available to implement prevention programming during the school day, brief programmes are needed and we tested one such curriculum to gauge its effectiveness,” Joppa added in the paper published in the Journal of School Health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nine percent of US high school students in 2012 reported physical dating violence in the previous 12 months.

“Violence ranges from emotional and verbal abuse to physical and sexual abuse,” said another researcher Christie J. Rizzo.

In this study, 225 tenth-grade students in a large public high school in Massachusetts, who had their parents’ prior consent, were enrolled in the Katie Brown Educational Program which involved five sessions of dating violence prevention curriculum.

Three months later, at the conclusion of the programme, the teens in the programme showed changes in their attitudes, behaviour and knowledge about relationships.

“The good news is that good relationship skills can be taught. The study demonstrates that teens can modify their cognitions and behaviour about dating violence,” researcher Rizzo said.

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