Teen Violence Abuse Versus Non-Abusive Situations Research Paper

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Teen Abuse

Recognizing the Signs of Abusive Teenage Relationships

For both the perpetrator and the victim, tendencies toward involvement in an abusive relationship may reveal themselves even before full adulthood. Because these tendencies are often a manifestation of formative childhood experiences such as having been the victim of parental abuse or having witnessed abusive behavior between parents, patterns of abusive behavior of willingness to remain in a relationship where one is subjected to abusive behavior may be seen even in the early forays into romantic relationships. This is why it is valuable to identify warning signs of abusive tendencies at these early stages. For both perpetrator and victim, intervention may have invaluable long-term implications. This directs the focus of our current discussion on abusive tendencies in teenage relationships.

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Teenage romantic engagement is a particularly volatile emotional time in one's life as both boys and girls struggle to understand complex feelings of attachment, sexual desires and the social and ethical nuances of dating. Absent of any dysfunctional behavior, this is already a tumultuous period in one's psychosocial development. For those who also struggle with childhood trauma, or who simply are prone to wild mood swings, violence and abusive behavior, the tumult of dating is likely to produce a number of dysfunctional responses that can be of danger to an intimate partner. Likewise, for those who struggle with low-self-esteem, insecurity and difficulty establishing a sound personal identity, there may be a vulnerability to entry into and a retaining presence in an abusive relationship that will reveal itself as one explores dating. The discussion hereafter will consider the dynamic between these two roles with regard to abuse in teenage relationships.

Recognizing Abusive Situations:

Research Paper on Teen Violence Abuse Versus Non-Abusive Situations Assignment

First and foremost in addressing the phenomenon of abuse in teenage relationships is the task of defining abuse and framing it as something recognizable. On this point, according to Eckhardt et al. (2002), there is a clear connection between one's arousal to anger and one's anger management capabilities and one's proclivity towards violence. The study by Echkardt et al. reports on a small sample study between men characterized as non-violent (NV) and of those who have committed acts of dating violence (DV). The study would use two formally endorsed modes of anger testing, the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI) and the articulated thoughts during simulated situations (ATSS) instruments, on both groups. Following these tests, Eckhardt et al. would report that "participants' thought articulations were coded for anger-related affect, other negative emotions, and aggressive verbalizations. Results indicated that relative to NV men, DV men scored significantly higher on STAXI Trait Anger, Anger In, and Anger Out scales and lower on STAXI Anger Control. DV men articulated more aggressive verbalizations during ATSS anger arousal than did NV men." (Eckhardt et al., 2002; 1102)

Here, nonviolent men demonstrated a universally greater capability of managing their emotions and, simultaneously, of recognizing emotional interactions with greater accuracy. By contrast, on this latter point violent men will tend to interpret events as designed to invoke their anger. These differentials are useful in recognizing abuse patterns or tendencies toward abuse in individuals. Therefore, where members of a peer group or adults witness a male who is quick to anger and who sometimes tends toward anger which is irrational in its nature, severity and origins, it may be reasonable to seek intervention. This is particularly so when this anger tends to be expressed toward a relational partner. This does not, of course, inherently predicate a violent or abusive relationship, but may be a clue into greater emotional dysfunction present in the relationship. One must be careful in how one approaches any intervening measures however.

This promotes consideration of the scientific obstacles to effective evaluation of the causes of what is often terms in the research as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Specifically, clinical research has encountered myriad in the precision or clarity of its research. So says the study by Bell & Naugle (2008), which indicates that "several theories have been developed to provide a conceptual understanding of intimate partner violence (IPV) episodes. Although each of these theories has found some degree of empirical support, they are limited in their explanatory power of IPV episodes and their ability to significantly impact the efficacy of IPV prevention and treatment programs." (1096) This observation underscores a primary challenge to outside observers, which is the recurrent recognition of a real shortage in reliable data to be used for ma. We are caused to presume that a large number of instances in which Intimate Partner Violence may have occurred are unreported or unresolved due to a convergence of shortcomings in research and legal perspective.

The repeated emphasis here throughout on the tendency of men to be the perpetrators and women the victims of Intimate Partner Violence is founded on extensive research detailing the imbalance in reported cases based upon gender. As a result, many of the studies encountered have attempted to focus investigative inquiry on understanding the characteristics exhibited by men as these provoke such tendencies. It is here that such personality assessment tools as the MMPI come into consideration. An instance is the study prepared by Eckhardt et al. (2008), which identifies such qualities as having experienced abuse during childhood, having scored higher on psychopathology measures and having substance abuse problems as contributing to male tendencies toward aggression as it may be manifested in Intimate Partner relations. As a resolution, the study finds that "although the majority of partner-abusive men do not present with anger-related disturbances, the presence of anger problems may be a marker for an array of traits that may complicate the treatment process." (Echkhardt et al., 2008; 1600)

Again, these precursors are useful for identifying patterns of abuse. That stated, the research by Langhinrichsen-Rohling (2010) also requires us to question the primacy of male-centered abuse observation, suggesting that myriad other forms of abuse go thusly unreported. The study by Langhinrichsen-Rohling suggests that this represents a core problem in the area of identifying abuse. The study tells that "there is a need to integrate discrepant data drawn from community, at-risk, and clinical samples as well as a need to understand violence occurring in bi-directional as well as unidirectional violent couples (both man perpetrator only and woman perpetrator only couples)." (p. 221) These findings suggest that in attempting to identify patterns of abuse at these early stages of dating, such as during the teenage years, it is necessary to look for all manner of abusive tendencies rather than simply those which are statistically the dominant form.

Teenage/Adolescent Patterns of Abuse:

That said, for the purposes of our discussion, most resources currently available do focus on the perpetuation of male violence toward female dating partners. Particularly in teenage romantic heterosexual relationships, it is important to identify these patterns of abuse. According to Troubled Teen Issues (TTI) (2009), "the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly one in ten teens in grades 7 to 12, male and female, has been physically abused by a boy or girlfriend. Abused teens are more likely to drink heavily, use drugs, engage in risky sexual behavior, develop eating disorders, and attempt suicide. Abuse or dating violence can be physical, verbal, or sexual, and is often used to control the other person." (TTI, 1)

Research denotes that incidences of dating violence and abusiveness in teenage relationships are on the rise and that there is a problematic tendency toward acceptance of these behaviors among teenage peer groups. Accordingly, there is pressure on peers, parents, teachers, counselors and religious leaders to make note of the signs of abuse. Moreover, there is a need to make young individuals entering into romantic engagements for the first time aware of the warning signs of abuse. Indeed, these will not always be immediately evident. Young men who tend to lose their temper quickly, who show a proclivity toward unpredictable moodiness, who are unable to process personal feelings of distress or who tend to assign blame to those closest to them when faced with difficulties may not immediately produce signs that they may also resort to violence and psychological abusiveness. The same may be true of young men who are inherently overprotective, demanding, jealous or insecure within the context of a romantic relationship. For teenage boys who are contending with the already unpredictable hormonal and sexual experiences inherent to this stage of development, these tendencies may segue into abusive and dangerous behaviors.

Abusive Behaviors Checklist:

That abusive relationships can sometimes occur in this graduating fashion reinforces the need for ways of differentiating between abusive and non-abusive relationships. As much of our research indicates, it often falls upon caring friends and a strong support system to help individuals recognize and be removed from abusive situations. Therefore, the checklist which is proposed hereafter is directed as the demographic of teenagers on the whole and is intended to serve as a resource through which they might identify patterns of abuse amongst their peers. Based on similar checklist models currently available, our checklist requires any combination of two… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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