How can teen abusive relationships impact mental health and living?

Awards

goa-citation

OVERVIEW

Teens all over the world are suffering due to the need to stay and fuel their toxic relationships. Although, they’re not considering the mental health factors as well as the consequences of staying together with their abuser. In this website, you will see how I decided to find out more information about what makes a toxic relationship, and how it affects teens, but also, a case study seeing people’s point of view on this serious topic. The best part is, I got teens from our generation to respond, but also a couple of adults, to see their opinions. But, how can we make an impact on this generation, and what can I do to help?

Please fill out this form before we begin going through my page! (during the presentation!)

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP (regarding teens)?

“The body of research literature and evaluation studies on adolescent dating violence or abuse does not operate with a uniform definition of such violence. A consensus is evident in the literature that teen dating abuse resembles adult domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior used to control another person…physical abuse, psychological/emotional or verbal abuse, and sexual abuse.” 

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, “Teen Dating Violence: A Literature Review and
Annotated Bibliography”
Source: Vocal Media, “My Experience with Toxic Relationships” (artist is Erynlou)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

“A common pattern of domestic abuse, especially between intimate partners, is that the perpetrator alternates between violent, abusive and apologetic behavior with apparently heartfelt promises to change and that the abuser could be very pleasant most of the time.” 

Source: Health Psychology Research

You may be thinking as to why this may be seen as an important issue. This serious topic is very important to note because of how it not only affects teens currently, but what it will do regarding their future in life. 

According to studies through the US National Library of Medicine and Health, Intimate partnership violence and battering (defined as repeated physical or sexual assault within a context of coercive control and emotional abuse as its frequent part), has specific, long-term negative health consequences for victims, even after the abuse has stopped. To put this all into perspective, and to mainly focus on women for a moment, evidence suggests that women who are exposed to violence by their partners show psychological consequences, including a higher level of depression, anxiety, phobias, a higher level of emotional distress, thoughts, or attempts of suicide among women who had ever experienced physical or sexual violence than those who had not. In addition, intimate partner violence has also been linked with: alcohol and drug abuse, eating and sleep disorders, physical inactivity, poor self-esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder, smoking, self-harm, unsafe sexual behavior, and the increased exposure to injuries.

Domestic violence which consequences can affect the quality of life not only of both participants, but also their children, and the elderly parents, if they’re living with them, today not only in schools, police, health, and social care services but also in the criminal justice system.

After doing some research and seeing what was important about this topic, I decided to do a twist on a case study.

Source: Yahoo.com, controlling relationship drawing

THE CASE STUDY

WHAT DID I DO?

To see my fellow classmates’ opinions on this topic, I formed a couple of questions that related to my project, and put those questions onto a google form, and decided to send that out to my whole high school class, as well as high school faculty. I have a pretty small school, around 70 kids per grade, and I got a pretty good response, resulting in 45 responses. So, I got a pretty good gist of their opinion.

THE QUESTIONS+RESPONSES:

I decided to ask six pretty simple questions to see what they were thinking, and if they knew about the topic (I also asked if they wanted to share their name and grade, but that was optional):

  1. What is your definition of an abusive relationship?
  2. How do you feel this kind of relationship can affect someone’s mental health? (a teen in this case) [multiple choice]
  3. What do you feel a warning sign could be regarding a friend or someone you know is in this type of relationship?
  4. If you knew your friend was in an abusive relationship, what do you feel you would do to try and help?
  5. Do you feel these relationships can be simple to get out of? [multiple choice]
  6. Questions or comments (optional).

Since it wouldn’t make sense to show every single response (45 of them), I decided to summarize the SHORT answer responses and choose my favorite ones. While with the multiple-choice questions, I will display a screenshot below, and go more in-depth with them, (I will also display the names from each specific response if provided). 

1. What is your definition of an abusive relationship?

-Anonymous
-Aidan Armstrong, Grade 12
-Anonymous, I thought it was interesting how they mentioned drug use since it can be true, yet isn’t seen a lot.

These were all correct in some type of way. They all had common characteristics, like physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse, along with some kind of manipulation mentioned. A common characteristic I noticed was people were either saying both or one person was being abused in this relationship. Commonly, there is the perpetrator and the victim, but I feel in some senses both can become a victim, it just depends on how the relationship plays out. I thought it was interesting some people’s point of view this brought to this topic. 

Question Number 2:

Responses to the second question. I also included an “other” option to try and see if others had something else to say. For example, for this question, someone typed “a ton” in the other option, and: “More like probably life-altering since abusive relationships as a teen could probably cause PTSD or life-long depression or anxiety.” -Anonymous

I found this interesting, especially since someone said none. According to studies from the US National Library of Medicine and Health, the majority of victims who experienced this kind of abuse experience a lot of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), as well as depression, anxiety, fear, self-esteem issues, and more.

3. What do you feel a warning sign could be regarding a friend or someone you know is in this type of relationship?

 

-Anonymous
-Gaby Rosen, 11th Grade
-Josie Cancro, 11th Grade

I feel it was interesting how not common the “scared by slight movements” was, I feel that is a big thing to notice abuse, but the other signs were described very well too. The main sign I saw was the scarring or bruising on the body and covering up. 

Below on my infographic I created shows physical and mental signs someone you may know is in an abusive relationship.

4. If you knew your friend was in an abusive relationship, what do you feel you would do to try and help?

Drawing of friends, the right girl being in an abusive relationship.
Source: SafeHorizon.com
-Gaby Rosen, 11th Grade
-Luke Letizia, 12th Grade
-Anonymous

All of these responses were amazing, I enjoyed them the most because I noticed how much people would actually care if an individual they knew needed help, and how they would help in doing so. Many similarities I noticed were seeking professional help, letting them know their voices are heard and supported, helping them try and escape the relationship, and possibly even getting the law involved.

Below, on the infographic, is more ways to help an individual.

5. Do you feel these relationships are simple to get out of?

Source: JoinOneLove, escaping an abusive relationship image.
Here are the responses. The colors correlate to the colors on the side shown.
The light green: Depends on the situation but most times not.
Purple: I think it really depends on the duration, intensity, and type of people in the relationship.

I feel the students were correct regarding the other option, by saying it depends on the situation. At the time of creating the google form, I didn’t even consider that response, so I’m glad the students let me gain a new perspective.

Emotional abuse destroys your self-esteem, making it feel impossible to start fresh and want to leave the relationship. People get so attached to their abuser since, after the abuse, there’s a honeymoon cycle where everything is “normal, happy, and simple” again. 

“Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time during the relationship.”

Questions or Comments Section:

I got a couple of questions if there were more options to help or a website to help, so I may send out this website once it is finished to those students and faculty. I also got an interesting response from an anonymous student:

I was truly impressed with this response and how detailed it was, yet how they did mention healing and repairing themselves.

WHAT DO THESE RESPONSES SHOW?

I feel these responses show a few things. I feel this shows different people’s opinions on this topic, but I also feel this does show much people do know about these kinds of relationships. Although many students may not have any experience with any of these situations (hopefully), it was interesting to see how much my fellow students do know about this important topic.

FOR NOW+MY RESPONSE/CONCLUSION

Source: CMHCWeb, “Love Shouldn’t Hurt”

For now, I hope I was able to change your view through this website. This is a very important topic that needs to be talked about more, as well as not has such a high stigma on. 

To take action currently, below is an infographic I created, and I will post it around my school. I am also going to post it on my social media platforms, as well as send some extra links out to my school, encouraging students to try and look further into the topic and educate themselves more. I feel I made some type of impact after sending out this form to my school since my school has absolutely no course (like AP Psychology, or even just Psychology), or even a club regarding mental health, but especially something focusing on abuse. We do have a counselor for the high school, but I want people to know that their voices are heard. I will also let it be known that as a student at Hamden Hall, I will always be here to help someone, no matter the circumstances or current situation.

REQUEST FOR FEEDBACK/TAKE ACTION

Below, please comment on what your responses to the questions from my google form above would be! You don’t have to answer every question, but do if you please!

I’m curious to see your understanding after analyzing my website, and if reading this helped you gain a deeper understanding of the topic! Please fill out this form now that we’ve completed the presentation!

Also, here is the spreadsheet with the answers to all my questions from everyone who filled out the form! 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NbuS3egQBSzbhgOOn-u8aGvnA1-F0CX9gRaRCNYvAdM/edit?usp=sharing

WORKS CITED

Click here for my works cited of this webpage.

-Alexa Mislow 🙂
9 Comments

9 comments

  1. Keila Santos

    Hi Alexa, I found your post to be very organized and easy to navigate. It was concise and I learned a lot from it. I like how you did your own case study on people you know to gage what people know about abusive teen relationships and what to do about it. And I think your idea to put posters around your school is great to spread awareness. I definitely think that the warning signs and how to help were very informative. Also, your form to track our engagement is view only! I could not write in it.

    1. Alexa Mislow

      Hey Keila! Thank you so much for your positive and sweet comment! I’m so happy and glad I was able to give you some insight on this important topic, and I will definitely put that poster up around my school! I’m so sorry about the form and it only being on view! I just now changed it, so thank you for letting me know for future viewers!
      Thank you again for your comment!
      -Alexa Mislow

  2. Avatar

    Alexa,
    This is a well thought out and executed project that brings awareness to such an important topic. Congratulations!
    Mrs. Porto

    1. Alexa Mislow

      Thank you, Mrs. Porto, I appreciate your response and read!
      -Alexa Mislow

  3. Seoyoung_198

    Hi Alexa! I really enjoyed reading your project! Your project makes me think that teens experiencing these types of abusive relationships is especially more harmful as there is more possibility that it can harm their identity and their future relationships. I think it’s important to focus more on the warning signs that you mentioned to keep our friends from engaging in these abusive relationships.

    1. Alexa Mislow

      Hey Seo!
      Thank you so much for your comment! I agree that these relationships will definitely affect people’s future lives as well and how they operate, not just current living! I will surely put that poster around my school before I graduate! I appreciate your reading!
      -Alexa Mislow

  4. Julia

    Hi Alexa! You did a really great job executing this product, it was incredibly detailed, informative, and engaging. I believe that this topic isn’t nearly talked about enough, so thank you for raising awareness on it. I really liked that you included your classmate’s opinions and insights on this topic as well. Great job!!

  5. Alexa Mislow

    Hey Julia!
    Thank you so much for such a positive and sweet comment! I really do appreciate and love to hear that my work was engaging and informative, so truly thank you! I do agree that this topic can be avoided regarding talking about, so I was glad I could make a project out of it! Thank you so much again for reading and commenting!
    -Alexa Mislow

  6. Mia Chung

    Hi Alexa! It is evident that you put a lot of time and effort into gathering research and information for this project, and I really appreciate how you went the extra mile to gather responses from your classmates. I feel like this topic is not talked about enough in school, but it shouldn’t be a topic that parents and educators avoid. I like your idea of sharing that infographic (which is very well organized by the way) at school so teens in abusive relationships or teens concerned about a friend being in an abusive relationship can take action.

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