Self-concept and Dating Violence in 220 Adolescent Girls in the Child Protective System

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe the dating violence experiences in a cohort of adolescent girls in the Child Protective System (CPS), and to assess how these experiences relate to their self-concept. A total of 220 adolescent Canadian girls under care of the CPS completed the Offer self-image questionnaire and the revised conflict tactic scales. Results showed that the majority of these girls have experienced some types of victimization in their dating relationships, the least prevalent form being severe injury (24.4%) and the most being minor psychological aggression (81.5%). Data provided here show that the self-concept of teenagers involved in severe violence that includes injury is especially negative. Girls who sustained severe violence with injuries reported more negative overall views of themselves, more problems regulating their emotional tone, more psychopathological symptoms, and lower vocational and educational goals. Implications for prevention initiatives and treatment interventions are discussed.

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