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The majority of these programs have focused on increasing students' awareness and knowledge about dating violence, changing attitudes and norms that condone violence, and building conflict resolution and communication skills.Given that many of these prevention programs have only been short-term interventions, the results are particularly encouraging and demonstrate a potential to impact public health.

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This article provides a critical review of the research literature with respect to risk factors for both perpetrators and victims of dating violence and examines the research on the effectiveness of prevention and intervention programs.

Risk factors have been defined as "attributes or characteristics that are associated with an increased probability of [its] reception and/or expression" (Hotaling & Sugarman, 1990 p. Risk factors are correlates of dating violence and not necessarily causative factors.

Further research is needed to enhance our understanding of adolescent dating violence including the nature of conflicts, as well as the meaning, context, intent, and consequences of the violence and the role of gender.

A number of school based programs focusing on reducing violence in teen dating relationships and promoting healthy respectful relationships show promising results.

It occurs in heterosexual and same-sex relationships and cuts across racial/ethnic and socio economic lines.

Although there are methodological problems accurately determining prevalence rates, a conservative estimate is that one in three adolescents has experienced physical or sexual violence in a dating relationship (Avery-Leaf, Cascardi, O'Leary, & Cano, 1997).

Teen victims may be especially vulnerable due to their inexperience in dating relationships, their susceptibility to peer pressure and their reluctance to tell an adult about the abuse (Cohall, 1999).

Further, many adolescents have difficulty recognizing physical and sexual abuse as such and may perceive controlling and jealous behaviors as signs of love (Levy, 1990).

In an NIJ-funded study of 5,647 teens (51.8 percent female, 74.6 percent Caucasian) from 10 middle schools and high schools (representing grades 7 to 12) throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, researchers identified several factors related to increased risk for dating violence.

The researchers focused especially on cyber abuse but found that the following factors related to multiple forms of abuse: Another NIJ-funded study examined multiple risk factors among 223 at-risk, low-income teens in central Virginia.

Thus, they may have implications for prevention program, but they may also be outcomes that have implications for treatment.

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