Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Importance of Healthy Relationships

Adolescence, the time from 11 - 21 years old, is a time when many young people learn how to form important relationships with friends, parents, teachers, and romantic partners.5 During this period of time, peers play an especially large role in identity formation and in teaching each other how to behave in social relationships.5,6


This is also an important time for young people to experiment with different roles within relationships and utilize what works for them.


However, when adolescents enter into romantic relationships sometimes they are not entirely equipped to practice healthy behaviors. In a nationwide study conducted by the CDC, it was found that among the 73.9% of students surveyed nationwide, 10.3% had been harmed on purpose by someone they were dating. The prevalence of physical dating violence is higher among women (13.0%) than men (7.4%).1


Its not only physical violence that contributes to unhealthy dating behaviors. Verbal violence is common as well. Undoubtedly, purposeful physical and verbal violence contribute to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and loss of focus, in other words, depressive symptoms.


In fact, intimate personal violence has been linked to depressive symptoms and depressive symptoms make teens more susceptible to entering into unhealthy relationships, in essence, repeating the cycle.2

            It is important to recognize some warning signs where there is potential for a relationship to turn unhealthy or violent. Some warning signs include:

             *Explosive Temper


            *Constant belittling or name calling

            *Invading personal space or privacy without permission (Entitlement)3


Instead, here are few signs that one can look for in establishing healthy, supportive, and caring relationships:

            *Equality and Respect

            *Respect of Privacy

            *Encouragement and Support

            *Fair and Rational Compromise

            *Open Communication

            *Creating and Respecting Boundaries4


Here is a link to one of our teen interns, Daniella Stewart, video.



  1. Kann, L., PhD, Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S. L. MPH, Flint, K. H., MA, Hawkins, J., MAZaza,     S., MD (2014). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 2013. Morbidity and                        Mortality Weekly Report, 63, 4, 2 - 44. Retrieved August 12, 2015 from
    2. Johnson, W. L., Giordano, P. C., Longmore, M. A., Manning, W. D (2015). Intimate Partner                  Violence and Depressive Symptoms During Adolescence and Young Adulthood. J Health   Soc Behav. 2014 Mar; 55, 1, 39-55. Retrieved August 12, 2015 from
       doi:                                                  10.1177/0022146513520430
    3. Break the Cycle. Warning Signs. Retrieved August 12, 2015 from
    4. Love is Respect. Healthy Relationships. Retrieved August 12, 2015 from
    5. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Office of Adolescent Health. Healthy                            Relationships. Updated May 11, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015 from
    6. Vaquera, E., Kao, G. Do You Like Me as Much as I Like You? Friendship Reciprocity and Its Effects on School Outcomes Among Adolescents. Soc Sci Res Mar 2008, 37, 1, 55-72.       
                Retrieved August 12, 2015 from             #R15. doi 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2006.11.002

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