According to the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, approximately 10 percent of adolescents nationwide reported being the victim of physical violence at the hands of a romantic partner during the previous year. The rate of psychological victimization is even higher: Between two and three in 10 reported being verbally or psychologically abused in the previous year, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.As for perpetration rates, there are currently no nationwide estimates for who does the abusing, and state estimates vary significantly.In South Carolina, for example, nearly 8 percent of adolescents reported being physically violent to a romantic partner.These numbers were reversed for the boys: 5 percent said they were the sole perpetrator; 27 percent the sole victim. In a third study, teen couples were videotaped while performing a problem-solving task. Some experts hold that men and women are mutually combative and that this behavior should be seen as part of a larger pattern of family conflict. Supporters of this view generally cite studies that use "act" scales, which measure the number of times a person perpetrates or experiences certain acts, such as pushing, slapping or hitting.
Although both views of adult intimate partner violence can help inform our understanding of teen dating violence, it is important to consider how adolescent romantic relationships differ from adult romantic relationships in several key areas. In cases in which there was a power imbalance, they were more likely to say that the female had more power in the relationship. These estimates are lower than those from other studies because adolescents who had never been in a relationship were included in the sample (Wolitzky-Taylor, K. Overall, the study found that the boys perceived that they had less power in the relationship than the girls did. One difference between adolescent and adult relationships is the absence of elements traditionally associated with greater male power in adult relationships. Adolescent girls are not typically dependent on romantic partners for financial stability, and they are less likely to have children to provide for and protect. Huebner, "Severe Dating Violence and Quality of Life Among South Carolina High School Students," 19 (2000): 220-227. The study of seventh, ninth and 11th graders in Toledo, for example, found that a majority of the boys and girls who were interviewed said they had a relatively "equal say" in their romantic relationships. [note 4] National victimization prevalence estimates from a study of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years showed 0.6 percent for boys and 2.7 percent for girls.