Pre-teen students' perceptions of dating and teen dating violence
Benford, Jennifer Lea
MetadataShow full item record
Teen dating violence is prevalent, and as youth continue to access technology more frequently and at an earlier age, adolescents become increasingly vulnerable to consequences associated with dating violence. The purpose of this study is to examine pre-teen students’ perceptions of teen dating violence and digital violence, and their experiences of pressures to date. Using a qualitative study design and constant comparative thematic analysis, the study revealed two overarching constructs as well as 13 themes. First, pre-teen students exhibited ambivalence towards dating. Second, pre-teen students in this sample perceived dating as taboo. The 13 themes identified in the study were: (a) too young to date, (b) dating is frowned upon, (c) some are ok with it and some are not, (d) dating but not really dating, (e) secrets, (f) definitions of dating, (g) guidelines for dating, (h) good dating behaviors, (i) reasons to date, (j) pressures within dating, (k) trust and mistrust, (l) dating conflict, and (m) bystander helper. Findings from this study suggest there may be a pre-dating stage in the developmental trajectory, which by definition precedes dating, but captures some attitudes and behaviors that are linked to ideas of dating. Implications and recommendations for policy, intervention, and further research are discussed.