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Boys more likely to bear the brunt of digital dating abuse

New York, Feb 13 (IANS) Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, revealed that boys were significantly more likely to experience all types of digital dating abuse and physical aggression, as compared to females.

The study, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, also found that 81 per cent of the students who had been the target of digital dating abuse had also been the target of offline dating abuse.

“Specific to heterosexual relationships, girls may use more violence on their boyfriends to try to solve their relational problems, while boys may try to constrain their aggressive impulses when trying to negotiate discord with their girlfriends,” said Indian-origin researchers study lead author Sameer Hinduja from Florida Atlantic University in the US.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, researchers conducted a study to clarify the extent to which youth are experiencing digital forms of dating abuse, as well as to identify what factors are linked to those experiences.

The researchers examined 2,218 middle and high school students (12 to 17 years old) in the US who have been in a romantic relationship.

The study showed that more than one-quarter (28.1 per cent) of teens who had been in a romantic relationship at some point in the previous year said they had been the victim of at least one form of digital dating abuse.

In addition, more than one-third (35.9 per cent) had been the victim at least one form of traditional (offline) dating abuse.

According to the study, males were significantly more likely to have experienced digital dating abuse (32.3 per cent) compared to females (23.6 per cent), and more likely to experience all types of digital dating abuse, and were even more likely to experience physical aggression.

Students victimised offline were approximately 18 times more likely to have also experienced online abuse compared to those who were not victimised offline.

Similarly, most of the students who had been the victim of offline dating violence also had been the victim of online dating violence, though the proportion (63 per cent) was lower. A number of risk factors were significantly associated with digital dating abuse.

Students who reported depressive symptoms were about four times as likely to have experienced digital dating abuse. Those who reported that they had sexual intercourse were 2.5 times as likely to have experienced digital dating abuse.

Most notably, those students who had sent a “sext” to another person were nearly five times as likely to be the target of digital dating abuse as compared to those who had not sent a sext.

Finally, those who had been the target of cyberbullying also were likely to have been the target of digital dating abuse, the study said.

–IANS

bu/rt

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