The study investigates the prevalence and directionality pattern (only male, only female, or both are perpetrators) of physical violence in dating relationships perpetrated by secondary-school adolescents in 10 Brazilian cities. The hypothesis is that reciprocity pattern prevails and that female adolescents show the highest rates of perpetration. A sample of 3205 adolescents, aged 15–19, from state to private schools, was investigated, using the Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationships Inventory. The majority of participants were female adolescents (59%). The prevalence of violence perpetrated by male adolescents stood at 22.4%, whereas for the female participants it was 39.4%. The analysis of the directionality pattern shows that in most relationships both partners practiced aggression, corroborating the evidence for violence reciprocity. This pattern was found in four out of the ten cities, while in the other six, violence perpetrated by female adolescents reached the highest prevalence rates (average of 43.1%). However, in all ten cities, violence perpetrated only by male adolescents shows lower prevalence levels, reaching an average of 9.7%. In line with other studies in Brazil and the USA, female adolescents seem to be more violent than male teenagers, contradicting common sense and the findings from studies on violence among adult couples, in which case women are the main victims. Further investigation is needed into the following aspects: severity and frequency of violent acts; evolution of violence dynamics from dating to adult relationships; and the underlying reasons and context in which violence occurs.
- dating violence
- violence physical
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