Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: How Teens End Violent Dating Relationships

Donna S. Martsolf, Claire Burke Draucker, Melvina Brandau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Dating violence affects nearly 30% of teens and is associated with numerous negative health outcomes. Teens do not tend to use adult or peer assistance to end violent dating relationships, and little is known about how they manage to end them. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the common ways in which teens end violent dating relationships. DESIGN: Grounded theory methods were used to analyze transcribed interviews conducted with a community sample of 83 young adults who had experienced dating violence as teens. RESULTS: Participants described six ways of ending violent dating relationships: deciding enough is enough; becoming interested in someone else; being on again, off again; fading away; deciding it's best for us both; and moving away. CONCLUSIONS: Professionals working with teens can present the six ways of breaking up as a tool to initiate discussion about the issues involved in ending violent dating relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • adolescents
  • dating violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • teens
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health

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