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The Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Teen Mental Health

By September 11, 2023Mental Health

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is defined as “the actual or threatened physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.” IPV typically involves a pattern of assaultive or coercive behaviors that is characterized by the control or domination of one person over another. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/ or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), which is part of the Maryland Department of Health Public Health Services and the Prevention and Health Promotion Administration, provides various examples of IPV, some of which include the following:

  • Physical violence: Any type of abuse that causes bodily harm (e.g., pinching, hitting, shoving, kicking, scratching, choking, biting, etc.).
  • Sexual violence: Actively forcing someone to participate in a sexual act when he or she does not consent. Another example of sexual violence is threatening to spread rumors if a partner rejects sex.
  • Psychological abuse: Terrorizing the person, playing mind games with them, or threatening to harm them or their loved ones.
  • Stalking: A pattern of behavior intended to harass, annoy, frighten, or harm the person (e.g., repeated, uninvited visits to someone’s home, unwanted surveillance, consistent electronic communication, etc.).
  • Emotional abuse: Threatening behavior (e.g., constantly criticizing, gaslighting, name-calling, isolating them from their family and friends, etc.) aimed at a partner to diminish his or her self-worth.
  • Reproductive coercion: Threats or acts of violence against a person’s reproductive health or reproductive decision-making (e.g., refusal to use contraception or condoms resulting in unintended pregnancy or exposure to sexually transmitted infections, control over pregnancy options, etc.).

Intimate partner violence among teens is common and is associated with poor health and social outcomes that can persist long after the abuse ends. Verywell Mind highlights some of the adverse effects of intimate partner violence, such as:

  • Injuries, which can be serious or fatal in some cases.
  • Hearing or vision loss.
  • Lasting physical damage.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Unwanted pregnancies, which can result in dangerous complications due to unsafe or illegal abortions.
  • Mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and substance use disorders.
  • Physical health issues such as heart problems, digestive difficulties, reproductive issues, nervous system conditions, and muscle and bone disorders.
  • Low self-esteem and a feeling of being unwanted, powerless, hopeless, and ashamed.
  • Trust issues, difficulty with relationships, and a tendency to engage in risky behaviors.

Teenage relationships are integral to one’s overall development and are considered a major developmental milestone. It has been noted that teen relationships are linked to the way adolescents explore independence, body image, privacy, and identity formation. Hence, abusive relationships can greatly impact a teen’s mental health.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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