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Abstract

Adolescent parents are vulnerable to dating abuse, yet few studies have investigated abuse experienced by adolescent fathers. The purpose of the present study was to explore adolescent fathers’ perceptions of the dating abuse victimization they experienced by the mothers of their children. Twelve in-depth interviews with predominately Hispanic fathers were analyzed using thematic analysis methods. The most common themes to emerge from the narratives were emotional abuse, social control, using the children (i.e., threatening to take the child away or refusing to let the fathers see their child), and physical abuse. The fathers outlined a series of subthemes within each larger theme in order to provide rich descriptions of their experiences. Findings suggest that, just as adolescent parents are at a crossroads of developmental tasks, they are also experiencing abusive behaviors found in both adolescent (social control) and adult (using the children) relationships. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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