Concentrated in adolescence, violent victimization is developmentally disruptive. It undermines physical, mental, and socioemotional well-being and compromises youths’ transitions into and progression through key life course tasks. Youth violent victimization (YVV) has been linked to precocious exits from adolescence and premature entries into adulthood. This includes early entry into coresidential romantic unions, which is but one stage of a relationship sequence generally beginning via dating debut. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) and Cox regression, we examine the effects of YVV on the timing of dating debut and progression to first coresidential unions during adolescence and the transition to adulthood. We pay particular attention to how these effects may be structured by age and gender. Overall, we find that victims begin dating sooner and progress more quickly from dating to first unions than do non-victims. However, youths victimized in early adolescence withdraw from dating and union formation, whereas late adolescent victims appear to overinvest in relationships—at least temporarily—displaying accelerated entry into dating and rapid progression to first unions. We conclude by discussing the implication of these age-graded patterns for intervention efforts and youth well-being more broadly.
- life course
- romantic relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science