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Teens, technology, dating relationships, and dating violence

Faculty Associate Donna Howard, Behavioral and Community Health, is working on a mixed-method study of dating behaviors and electronic communication

This study examines the role played by electronic communication technologies in teen dating relationships and how it may facilitate the perpetration of, response to, or defense against Teen Dating Violence (TDV). It
utilizes a mixed method approach that draws upon the Media Practice Model to explore motivations that drive teen adoption of social media, i.e., technology use in the context of relationship formation and maintenance, including fidelity, control and conflict resolution. The study will be implemented across 5 high schools to maximize sociodemographic diversity. Interviews with 20 teens will be conducted, transcribed and analyzed by a multi-disciplinary team using qualitative data software. Participants will also complete a survey addressing technology use, perceptions of digital dating abuse as a problem and prevalence of problematic digital dating behaviors. Focus groups will be conducted to validate results. Findings will enable better assessment of TDV risk and development of programs to promote safe use of technology by teens in dating relationships.

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