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Journal Article


Davies CT. J. Fam. Violence 2019; 34(5): 479-491.


(Copyright © 2019, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






This Welsh study explored young women's understandings of what it means to have a healthy relationship, including the negotiations of their identity and behaviour within their intimate relationships. This study was completed in seven schools in North Wales. An attitudinal questionnaire (n = 220) was used in order to explore their gendered attitudes, followed by a series of semi-structured interviews with 25 young women aged 15-18, focused on evaluating their experiences of intimate relationships, including the impact of everyday forms of harassment and abuse experienced in schools and beyond. The results indicate that there was a general resistance to, and justification of, somewhat subtle forms of coercion, harassment and control. The findings from the questionnaire and the interviews diverge; however, the journey on both paths reveals an image of young women unable to draw on a narrative of choice in order to assert their voices, their individual needs or negotiate their pre-determined relationship script. Overall, the young women lacked the power to operationalise their egalitarian attitudes in order to engage in relationships that adhere to the description of what they expect, want or desire within a 'healthy relationship'. This study contributes to the debate on how young women negotiate the conflicts inherent in the contemporary constructions of gender and intimate relationships. The findings suggest the importance of a comprehensive educational approach, with young people focused on promoting gender equality and healthy relationships.

Language: en


Attitudes; Continuum of abuse; Dating; Gender norms; Goffman; Intimate relationships; Young women


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