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Rueda -

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Qualitative Social Work





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Although promising dating violence programs have emerged, little is known about their effectiveness for Mexican American youth, a vulnerable and understudied population. The purpose of this study was: (1) to offer culturally-grounded recommendations towards the development of effective Teen Dating Violence (TDV) programs and/or the modification of existing programs, and (2) to identify potential barriers to Mexican American youth’s participation in TDV programs. Using the perspectives of Mexican American youth (15 to 17 years old) and a phenomenological study design, focus groups (N = 14) were conducted that were homogeneous by gender and level of acculturation (low/bicultural/high). Youth provided recommendations for program design (i.e. Design it to explore between-group and within-group cultural variability, Design it to be broad in scope, and Keep it positive) and program implementation (i.e. Make the program fun and non-threatening, and Involve peers, couples, and individuals) within the context of acculturation. Adolescents’ suggestion of a program delivered in smaller groups that support sharing within peer relationships may stem from a desire for intimacy within close relationships – re-creating a sense of familismo. Teen dating violence programs best meets the needs of Mexican American adolescents by including programmatic components that are grounded in personalized cultural values.


This article was published under Dr. Heidi Adams Rueda’s maiden name as Heidi L. Adams.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Sage in Qualitative Social Work on May 2, 2012, available online:

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