Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Friends make dates safe

20.09.2007
The US tops global rankings for rates of teenage pregnancy by a considerable margin, but what is the best way to tackle this problem? Numerous initiatives - from abstinence campaigns to improved sex education - encourage teenagers to take preventative measures, but a study published in the online open access journal BMC Nursing suggests that more work should be done among friendship groups. A teenage girl's friends may help to keep her from harm when dating.

Sharyl E Toscano from the University of Vermont interviewed 22 girls aged 15-18 from two Massachusetts high schools. She asked them about their own dating experiences and those of their friends, the influences on those relationships and any experiences of abuse.

From these interviews Toscano identified seven stages in the dating cycle. The couple-to-be typically first meet when their circles of friends interact. They get to know each other better outside the group, but only in a very limited capacity (internet, phone). Next, they start to go out together with other couples (i.e. a "group date") before dating independently of their friendship groups. At this point they re-enter the friendship circle as a recognised couple, maintaining their independent relationship as well as their relationships with in the circle. After a break-up the two have to re-join the circle as independent members once again.

It was found that the circle sets the social rules, norms and values for the dating relationship; friends act as a safety net against anyone not sharing their "terms of engagement." The risk of abuse - an intention to cause verbal, emotional or physical hurt - is greatest at times of stress and when the dating relationship remains outside of the girl's friendship circle (for example when the friends reject the partner).

Toscano also argues that without the circle's support, teenage girls are more uncertain about possible abuse. They see physical abuse as play fighting, control as protection, and sexual pressure (even rape) as normal sexual tension. Girls tend to tolerate abuse more when they fear losing a relationship, when they have lost their virginity or when the relationship involves sexual activity.

When girls are uncertain about possible abuse they look to their friends for confirmation (especially when physical abuse has left visible marks). Friendship groups often act to protect the girl and, in the most severe cases, approach a trusted adult (often a parent) for help. But a girl who has been isolated from her friends is less likely to receive help this way; she may cover up any abuse because she feels shame.

Toscano asserts that the relationships of teenage girls with their peers could be a key indicator for healthcare providers and parents of the risk of abuse (including sexual pressure) in a teenage dating relationship. The maintenance of a strong friendship circle reduces a girl's uncertainty about, and consequently protects her from, abuse.

Charlotte Webber | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen

23.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Stagnation in the South Pacific Explains Natural CO2 Fluctuations

23.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

Mat4Rail: EU Research Project on the Railway of the Future

23.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>