Violence between pals, partners and acquaintances is more prevalent before and during college time, according to a new study.
The transition from living at home to attending college may increase adolescents' vulnerability to relationship violence.
Factors associated with this risk include less parental monitoring and support, isolation in an unknown environment and a strong desire for peer acceptance that can change behaviors toward others.
Christine M. Forke, M.S.N., C.R.N.P., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and colleagues anonymously surveyed 910 undergraduates age 17 to 22 in 67 randomly chosen college classes.
The students answered demographic questions about sex, age, race and length of time in school and reported whether and when they had experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence in a relationship.
From the analysis, the researchers found that 407 (44.7 percent) of participants experienced relationship violence either before or during college, including 383 (42.l percent) who were victims of such violence and 156 (17.1 percent) of participants who reported perpetrating violence.
Rates of both perpetrating and being a victim of relationship violence were higher before college than during college.
More than half (130 of 227 reports) of the violence experienced during college was related to a partner rather than a friend or acquaintance.
The study also found that emotional violence was most common before college (21.1 percent), while sexual and emotional violence were equally common during college (12 percent and 11.8 percent).
The study has been published in the July issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.