Longitudinal Patterns of Electronic Teen Dating Violence Among Middle School Students


We investigated rates and developmental trends of electronic teen dating violence (TDV) perpetration and victimization overall and by gender. Data were collected from a single cohort of seventh-grade students from four schools using paper-and-pencil surveys administered at 6-month intervals (N = 795). Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and longitudinal growth models to estimate change over time in TDV. Overall, 32% of youth reported electronic TDV perpetration, and 51% reported electronic TDV victimization. Victimization was more prevalent for boys (42%) than for girls (31%) at baseline only (t = 2.55, p < .05). Perpetration did not differ at any wave. Perpetration and victimization each decreased significantly from the beginning of seventh grade to the end of eighth grade, β = -.129 (.058), p < .05, for perpetration, and β = -.138 (.048), p < .01, for victimization. Gender moderated the decrease in reported victimization, with simple slopes indicating girls showed almost no change in victimization, β = .006 (.066), ns, whereas boys decreased significantly over the 2 years, β = -.292 (.069), p < .001. Although moderation by gender of change in perpetration was not conventionally significant, the simple slopes revealed that girls again showed a nonsignificant change in TDV across seventh and eighth grades, β = -.067 (.078), ns, whereas boys showed a significant decline in reported electronic TDV perpetration, β = -.197 (.083), p < .05. The high prevalence of electronic TDV underscore the need for addressing these behaviors within TDV prevention interventions.