Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Friends Make Dates Safe, Study Suggests

Date:
September 25, 2007
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
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 new study suggests that more work should be done among friendship groups. A teenage girl's friends may help to keep her from harm when dating.

The US tops global rankings for rates of teenage pregnancy by a considerable margin, but what is the best way to tackle this problem?

Related Articles


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.

Article: Sharyl E Toscano, A Grounded Theory of Female Adolescents' Dating Experiences and Factors Influencing Safety: The Dynamics of the Circle , BMC Nursing (in press)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Friends Make Dates Safe, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920072153.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2007, September 25). Friends Make Dates Safe, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920072153.htm
BioMed Central. "Friends Make Dates Safe, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920072153.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins