Urban teens and young adults describe drama, disrespect, dating violence and help-seeking preferences

Caitlin Eileen Martin, Avril Melissa Houston, Kristin N. Mmari, Michele R. Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Adolescent dating violence is increasingly recognized as a public health problem. Our qualitative investigation sought input from urban, African-American adolescents at risk for dating violence concerning (Tjaden and Thoennes in Full report of the prevelance, incidence, and consequences of violence against women: findings from the national violence against women survey. US Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 2000) dating violence descriptions, (WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence against women: Summary report of initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women's responses. World Health Organization, Geneva, 2005) preferences for help-seeking for dating violence, and (Intimate partner violence in the United States. Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Washington, DC, 2007) recommendations for a teen dating violence resource center. Four focus groups were conducted with urban, African American adolescents (n = 32) aged 13-24 recruited from an urban adolescent clinic's community outreach partners. Qualitative analysis was conducted. Participants assigned a wide range of meanings for the term "relationship drama", and used dating violence using language not typically heard among adults, e.g., "disrespect". Participants described preferences for turning to family or friends before seeking formal services for dating violence, but reported barriers to their ability to rely on these informal sources. When asked to consider formal services, they described their preferred resource center as confidential and safe, with empathetic, non-judgmental staff. Teens also gave insight into preferred ways to outreach and publicize dating violence resources. Findings inform recommendations for youth-specific tailoring of violence screening and intervention efforts. Current evidence that slang terms, i.e., "drama", lack specificity suggests that they should not be integrated within screening protocols. These data highlight the value of formative research in understanding terminology and help-seeking priorities so as to develop and refine dating violence prevention and intervention efforts for those most affected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-966
Number of pages10
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • African American
  • Females
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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