Non-Physical Dating Abuse Can Have Severe Impact on the Health of Teenage Girls

amy-bonomi-1_lgA new study led by Amy Bonomi, professor and chair of the department of human development and family studies at Michigan State University, has found that non-physical abuse, such as cyber stalking and verbal harassment can have a significant impact of the health of teenagers.

Dr. Bonomi cites research which shows that female teenagers who had been physically or sexually abused were nearly four times as likely as other female teenagers to smoke cigarettes and were more than four times as likely to develop eating disorders. Abused teenage girls were more likely to suffer from depression and to engage in risky sexual behavior. The current study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, found that teenage girls who were victims of non-physical abuse were also more likely to smoke cigarettes and develop eating disorders.

“One of the things that we need to do better at society is to have conversations very early with young people – both females and males – about healthy relationship strategies,” Professor Bonomi said. “We often wait too long – until middle school and even high school – to begin talking to girls and boys about relationship skills, if we even talk about it at all.”

Professor Bonomi is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago. She holds a master of public health degree and a Ph.D. in health services from the University of Washington.

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