"If it hurts you, then it is not a joke": adolescents' ideas about girls' and boys' use and experience of abusive behavior in dating relationships.

Department of Psychology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada.
Journal of Interpersonal Violence (Impact Factor: 1.64). 10/2006; 21(9):1191-207. DOI: 10.1177/0886260506290423
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined adolescents' ideas about girls' and boys' use and experience of physical and psychological abuse in heterosexual dating relationships. Canadian high school students who were enrolled in Grades 9 and 11 took part in single-gender focus groups. Eight themes emerged from the analysis. The themes highlight the importance teenagers place on context for defining specific behaviors as abusive. They also underscore gender differences in the criteria adolescents use to make these judgments, in the forms of abusive behavior teenagers typically use in a dating relationship, and in the reasons for youths' declining use of physical abuse and increasing use of psychological abuse. These views have important implications for future research and for programs targeting adolescent dating violence.

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