Help-seeking and help-offering for teen dating violence among acculturating Mexican American adolescents

Heidi Adams Rueda, Lela Williams, Julie L. Nagoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Help-seeking sources, motivations, and barriers concerning teen dating violence are rarely co-examined alongside help-offering processes and messages, and both are understudied among minority youth populations. This study sought the perspectives of Mexican American adolescents (ages 15 to 17) concerning their preferences and experiences with both help-seeking and help-offering. Twenty focus groups (N= 64 adolescents) were divided by gender and by acculturation level to allow for group comparisons. Friends and supportive family members were primary sources of help, although adolescents voiced a number of barriers to help-seeking. The most prominent barrier was fear they would be told to leave the relationship, an anticipated message that aligned with their tendency to tell others to do so. Help-seeking was viewed as a weakness, and help-offering was reserved for friends that asked for it. Recommendations for programs and practice with youth include promoting culturally and gender attuned teen dating violence services that emphasize confidentiality, and working at the family, peer, and school levels to foster healthy relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Acculturation
  • Adolescence
  • Gender
  • Latino
  • Qualitative
  • Relationship abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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