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Along with a group of bright, committed graduate students, Niehuis began a longitudinal study of newly married couples and a study of dating couples.

“We always have several studies going on in the SMITTEN Lab,” said Niehuis, now an associate professor, adding that she tends to focus on how significant others – such as family members and friends – affect our romantic relationships.

Estimates of teen dating violence prevalence vary widely, because studies define and measure violence differently over different periods of time for different populations.

On this page, find estimates on prevalence from: Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a nationally representative annual survey of youth in grades 9 to 12, found that, of those students who dated someone in the last 12 months, approximately one in 10 reported being a victim of physical violence from a romantic partner during that year.[1]The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, analyzing a nationally representative sample of adolescents in grades 7 to 12 who were then followed over time, showed that approximately 30 percent of people ages 12 to 21 in heterosexual relationships reported experiencing psychological abuse in the past 18 months; 20 percent of youth in same-sex relationships reported experiencing the same type of abuse.[2][3]About 10 percent of students in the Youth Risk Behavior Study who had dated someone in the last 12 months reported that they had been kissed, touched or physically forced to have sexual intercourse against their will by a dating partner during that year.[4]To date, there are no nationally representative data on perpetration of dating violence.

When partners understand each other well, they get a sense that the other is predictable and probably won't go off and do something radically out of character.

Good communication should facilitate a sense of shared reality, but anything that interferes with it – such as experiencing great stress or working long hours in one's job – will hinder the development of shared reality.

She cites a 1988 study, which found that the quality of romantic and marital relationships constitutes a major risk factor for health, one that rivals the effects of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of physical activity.

Niehuis and her colleagues – professors Alan Reifman and Michael O'Boyle, assistant professor of psychological sciences Tyler Davis and graduate students Kareem Al-Khalil and Rebecca Oldham – believe further that romantic disillusionment may even be detectable through scans of the brain.Niehuis' current research is focused on the point within relationships when partners' idealization of each other is found to be at odds with reality.Niehuis and her colleagues define “disillusionment” as a temporal comparison in which the relationship is going much worse than expected, continues to decline over time and creates a sense of hopelessness over repairing things.The following percentages of dating teens reported experiencing forms of abuse: An NIJ-funded longitudinal study of 1,162 students in the Midwest examined the prevalence of several kinds of abuse that male and female middle and high school students experienced and perpetrated in teen dating relationships. About one-third of girls and boys (35 percent and 36 percent, respectively) reported experiencing physical violence in a teen dating relationship. Verbal emotional abuse was the most common form of abuse in teen dating relationships for both girls and boys: 73 percent of girls and 66 percent of boys reported experiencing at least one instance of verbal abuse in a dating relationship in high school. More girls reported perpetrating physical dating violence than boys (34 percent vs. In addition, 64 percent of girls and 45 percent of boys reported perpetrating verbal emotional abuse toward a dating partner. Nearly one in four girls and one in seven boys reported being victims of sexual coercion in a teen dating relationship. ​ NIJ-funded research has also examined the prevalence of dating violence among a national sample of Latino adolescents. Participants in one study come in for a preliminary session and tell the researchers about potentially disillusioning events in their relationships, such as a partner forgetting one's birthday or texting an ex.

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