In this qualitative study, the authors explored adolescent African American (AA) males’ characterizations of healthy teen dating relationships. They conducted semi-structured interviews with 18 AA males (ages 13-21) recruited from schools and community youth groups around Washington DC. Analysis focused on what the young men value in a dating relationship and their perceptions of what makes a relationship healthy. Their narratives provided multi-layered, descriptive characterizations of healthy dating dynamics. Through an iterative process, four key themes emerged (Trustworthy Relationship, Communication, General Connection/Compatibility, and Respectful Relationship), each with a varied number of sub-themes. Findings challenge one-dimensional stereotypes of young AA males and functionally advance the reclamation of their personal integrity and worth. The authors discuss the implications for public health research and programming. (Author abstract modified)
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