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Open Access "Like, What Am I Supposed to Do?": Adolescent Girls' Health Concerns in Their Dating Relationships

«Alors, qu'est-ce que je dois faire moi?»: Les préoccupations des adolescentes en matière de santé, en rapport à leurs fréquentations amoureuses

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This ethnographic study explored the health-related concerns, within dating relationships, of 40 female adolescents aged 15 and 16. The results reveal a complex interaction of male/female relational dynamics and socialization processes in these relationships. To avoid behaviours risky to their health, participants had to negotiate power relationships with partners and peers; yet, paradoxically, any increase in their power could increase the threat of violent confrontation, loss of power, and further health compromises.The girls' desire to have a dating partner outweighed their desire to avoid health threats such as substance abuse and violence. This dynamic can be understood in terms of patriarchal power imbalances. These findings point to the gravity of adolescent girls' health issues and the need for interventions that challenge mainstream culture and that foster empowerment among female adolescents.

Cette étude ethnographique explore les préoccupations en matière de santé de 40 adolescentes âgées de 15 et 16 ans, en rapport à leurs fréquentations amoureuses. Les résultats révèlent la présence d'une interaction complexe dans ces relations entre les dynamiques relationnelles filles / garçons et les processus de socialisation. Dans l'intention d'éviter des comportements pouvant mettre leur santé en péril, les participantes devaient composer avec des relations de pouvoir et négocier avec leurs partenaires et leurs pairs. Paradoxalement, tout pouvoir supplémentaire qu'elles acquéraient risquait de mener à de violentes confrontations, à une perte de pouvoir et à d'autres compromis relativement à leur santé. Le désir chez les filles d'avoir un partenaire surpassait leur désir d'éviter certains éléments pouvant menacer leur santé, comme l'abus de substances et les comportements violents. Cette dynamique peut être comprise en fonction d'un déséquilibre de pouvoir s'inscrivant dans un système patriarcal. Les résultats soulignent la gravité des problèmes dans le domaine de la santé des adolescentes et le besoin de procéder à des interventions remettant en question la culture dominante et favorisant l'autonomisation des adolescentes.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-06-01

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