The new survey results are in the line with some other findings, says Carlos Cuevas, a researcher from Northeastern University-Boston, who is presenting new data on dating violence among Latino youth at the conference. But he says the details behind the gender findings in various studies are important. When girls are the aggressors, he says, “it tends to be low-level behaviors, light hitting, name calling, things like that. When you look at serious sexual and severe physical assault, we tend to see a bit more from the boys than the girls.”

While programs at school and elsewhere in communities may help, families can play a central role. In his own survey of 1,525 Latino youths ages 12 to 18, Cuevas says he found that boys with the strong family support “typical in traditional Latino culture” were less likely to psychologically abuse dates.