A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health examined the potential association between a spectrum of childhood adverse experiences and physical violence in relationships before age 21 for both members.
The subjects were asked questions about violence in their adolescent relationships, as either victim or perpetrator, and their childhood surrounding twelve different adversities: parental death, parental divorce, long-term separation from parent, parental mental illness, parental substance abuse disorder, parental criminality, inter-parental violence, serious physical illness in childhood, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and family economic adversity.
The results demonstrated a strong positive correlation between ten out of the twelve childhood adversities and physically violent behavior in a teen relationship, with 13.8% responding with experiences of sexual violence, and 11.6% experiencing inter-parental violence.
This points to a strong influence of experience, or nature, on violent tendencies in adolescent relationships.
In some cases, the adult may be just a few months older than the minor.
There are a number of states in which "age of consent statutes are used to prosecute consensual sex between two persons both under the age of consent." This type of prosecution has been deemed unconstitutional in some states by citing violation of privacy rights, but remains in effect in other states.
Multiple other studies corroborate these findings, citing childhood bullying, assault, and maltreatment as significant indicators for future violence in adolescent dating.
There is evidence that testosterone levels are higher in individuals with aggressive behavior, such as prisoners who have committed violent crimes.” However, the study also noted that many cases of high testosterone levels are disarmed through socialization.Sexual behavior and aggression can be so deeply intertwined that the legality of underage consensual sex is sure to have an effect on teen dating violence.