Rural Adolescent Girls Negotiating Healthy and Unhealthy Romantic Relationships
The focused discussions of adolescent girls were analyzed to explore the processes of managing healthy and unhealthy aspects of dating relationships. Grounded theory methods were used to generate an outline of these processes. The core category elicited from discussions with participants was wrestling with gender expectations. This category reflected participants’ struggle to behave within the constraints they perceived that gender placed on their intimate relationships. Six subcategories explicated this core category: determining responsibility, keeping it in/letting it out, standing up for oneself, making sacrifices, building trust/not trusting, and showing respect/showing disrespect. Implications for psychotherapeutic work and educational applications are discussed.