“If You Don’t Have Honesty in a Relationship, Then There Is No Relationship”: African American Girls’ Characterization of Healthy Dating Relationships, A Qualitative Study

Katrina J. Debnam, Donna E. Howard, Mary A. Garza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The quality of dating relationships in adolescence can have long lasting effects on identity development, self-esteem, and interpersonal skills, and can shape values and behaviors related to future intimate relationships. The aims of this study were to: (1) investigate how African American adolescent girls characterize healthy relationships; and (2) describe the meanings of these characteristics in the context of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 12 healthy dating relationship qualities. We conducted semi-structured one-on-one in-depth interviews with 33 African American high school girls in the mid-Atlantic region. Trained staff transcribed interviews verbatim and entered the data into ATLAS.ti for coding and analysis. Participants’ specified and vividly described eight healthy relationship characteristics: goodcommunication, honesty, trust, respect, compromise, understanding, individuality, and self-confidence. Of these characteristics, three (good communication, compromise, and respect) were described in ways discordant with CDC’s definitions. Findings highlight a need to better understand how girls develop values and ascribe characteristics of healthy relationships in order to reduce their risk for teen dating violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-407
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2014

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Dating violence
  • Romantic relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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