New research reveals that troubled teenage relationships can have long-term health consequences, including mental and physical health struggles, drug use, and continued patterns of unhealthy and potentially dangerous intimate relationships. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, examined 38 studies executed between 2004 and 2022 that focused on the effects of various teen dating violence, including sexual, physical, cyber, and psychological abuse. The studies discovered that young individuals, particularly women, who had been in problematic romantic relationships during their teenage years were more viable to replicate those dating patterns and start consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes and marijuana. The research adds to a growing body of evidence showing that girls are particularly at risk for intimate partner violence.
Experts recommend that parents talk with their children about healthy relationships and model appropriate, respectful behavior among family members as early as possible. It is also important for parents to check in regularly with their teenagers about what's happening in their friend groups and to have conversations with both boys and girls about normal healthy relationships, including consent and respect. Healthcare providers can also play a crucial role in discussing dating and sex with their teenage patients and tailoring the conversation to their level of development while providing them with their undivided attention.
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