UO study: Abusive relationships damage girls' educational pursuits

A University of Oregon study of 19 girls, ages 13-18, has found that unhealthy dating relationships that included violence and other abuse translated into missed school days and a decline in academic performance.

Krista M. Chronister, associate professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services in the College of Education, led the study, which is in the April issue of the journal The Counseling Psychologist.

Chronister had detailed the impacts of the abuse in "Partner Violence and Girls' Educational and Vocational Development," a story she wrote for the Winter 2012 issue of the newsletter for the UO's Center for the Study of Women in Society.

In the conclusion of the published study, her team wrote: "Our theoretical model shows that participants experienced emotional, verbal, physical, and/or sexual abuse from male dating partners and used an array of strategies to cope with, escape from, and avoid the abuse as well as make meaning of the abuse. … A significant, but not surprising study finding was the inextricable link between adolescents' substance abuse and dating violence experiences."

The co-authors -- Chronister, Mary C. Marsiglio, Deanna Linville and Kali R. Lantrip -- also concluded that school-based prevention interventions could be improved if school personnel and peers are better informed about how such abuse interferes with the girls' key relationships and education.

Chronister is a member of the UO's Child and Family Center, a research center within the Prevention Science Institute. She is also the founder of Advancing Career Counseling and Employment Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence (ACCESS).

- Jim Barlow, Office of Public Affairs Communications